US economy shrinks at fastest rate since 2008

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The US economy suffered its most severe contraction in more than a decade in the first quarter of the year, as the country introduced lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The world’s largest economy sank at an annual rate of 4.8%, according to official figures released on Wednesday.

It marked the first contraction since 2014, ending a record expansion.

But the figures just hint at the full crisis, since many of the restrictions were not put in place until March.

The pandemic “is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world”, policymakers at America’s central bank said.