CNBC Explains Why “The Coronavirus Recession” Is Like No Other

The coronavirus pandemic is putting an end to the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. Policymakers and economists warn this recession will be unlike any other downturn.

After expanding for a record 126 months as of December 2019, economists now predict GDP growth will plummet in the first and second quarters of the year as businesses shutter and hundreds of millions of Americans are locked down.

“This is a huge, unprecedented, devastating hit,” former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told CNBC on Monday, adding she expects GDP to tumble 30% year on year in the second quarter.

Dire unemployment and growth forecasts have led some to compare the coronavirus downturn to the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009 or the Great Depression in the 1930s. However, policymakers say this recession is unlike any other in U.S. history because it was spawned by a health crisis, not by an unhealthy economy.

“I would point to the difference between this and a normal recession: There is nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told NBC’s “TODAY” last month. Watch the full video discussion below.

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