US economy grew at a record rate over the summer, new data shows. Who's saving, who's struggling?

A new business advertises for new workers as it prepares to open during the COVID-19 outbreak in Encinitas, California, U.S., July 30, 2020. Photo by REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

New economic numbers show the American economy did a lot better in the third quarter, up a record 7.4%. But the economy didn’t have anywhere to go but up. The lockdowns this spring caused the worst economic turndown here since the Great Depression in the 1930s. And the economy still isn’t back to where it was before the pandemic.

But things are improving slowly. The Commerce Department says people are investing in new homes and buying furniture. Sales of clothing are up. Car sales are up.

But all of that doesn’t change the fact that the pandemic has forced thousands of businesses to shut down, leaving millions out of work. The September unemployment rate was around 8%.

Congress is gridlocked on a new stimulus bill, which means the stimulus checks many were counting on won’t come until after the election — if they come at all.

Credits

Guest:
Michelle Singletary - Washington Post Personal Finance Columnist

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Rebecca Mooney