© Reuters. People walk down a street lined with outdoor seating for restaurants in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan, in New York City, New York, U.S., July 18, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was much stronger than initially thought amid massive fiscal stimulus, according to revisions on Thursday, which also showed the gap between the two measures of growth narrowing sharply in 2021.
Gross domestic product increased 5.9% in 2021, the Commerce Department said in its annual revision of GDP data. That was revised up from the previously reported 5.7% growth.
The economy contracted 2.8% in 2020, revised up from the previously published 3.4% decline.
“The pandemic recession from the fourth quarter of 2019 through the second quarter of 2020 was a bit less sharp than what is currently published,” said Erich Strassner, associate director of National Economic Accounts at the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). “The recovery from the second quarter of 2020 has been a bit stronger.”
The upward revisions to GDP in both years largely reflected more consumer spending, exports and federal government spending than previously reported.
Spending was boosted by government subsidies to households and businesses as part of a nearly $6 trillion in relief since the pandemic started in the spring of 2020.
GDP, the standard economic growth measure, is the value of…