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US in 'V-shaped, self-feeding' recovery, White House economist says

Talia Kaplan
·3 min read

White House economist Joe LaVorgna told “Making Money” on Thursday that the U.S. is in a “V-shaped, self-feeding” economic recovery.

LaVorgna, chief economist of the National Economic Council, made the comment hours after the Commerce Department revealed that the U.S. economy grew at a record-shattering pace in the third quarter as businesses reopened from the coronavirus shutdown.

LaVorgna said that according to new data, Americans are “buying homes like crazy” and “are spending like crazy.”

“We’ve had record home sales, 14-year high and we’re at an all-time high in retail sales,” he pointed out.

Gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, surged by 33.1% on an annualized basis in the three-month period from July through September, the Commerce Department said in its first reading of the data Thursday. The previous post-World War II record was a 16.7% increase in 1950.

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LaVorgna noted that GDP “also captures investment spending and what we saw this week were some really strong durable goods orders.”

He explained that durable goods are “items that last more than three years” and are “things that companies invest in, whether it’s computers, or mainframes, laptops, storage, all those sorts of things that anyone uses to operate a business.”

“Those are accelerating and that does jive with what’s happening on the labor side, which is a real big pick up in hiring,” LaVorgna continued.

He pointed out that the GDP figure “comes after a pandemic-related contraction in the second quarter that was not due to economic fundamentals,” rather “due to the economy being forced to close to protect people’s safety.”

He also noted that the data shows that “we’ve come roaring back” and “have now officially produced a V-shaped recovery.”

He did acknowledge, however, that “a lot of inventories” need to be rebuilt and that the inventory side is the “one area of GDP that didn’t show growth.”

“Dealer parking lots, for example, are pretty barren,” Lavorgna explained. “Store shelves are empty.”

“And that means we’ve got to increase production, hire people,” he added. “That’s why we’ve seen over 700,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five months and why the economy will have extra steam.”

He went on to say that “things we’re looking at suggest that Q4 is going to be very solid as well.”

Even with the positive data, the nation remains in a deep hole from the COVID-induced recession.

Host Charles Payne asked LaVorgna if he thinks the U.S. could “still use a little bit of a nudge” from some more fiscal intervention?

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“We’ve done everything we can to try to negotiate in good faith to try to get people money who need it because there is still a lot of pain out there,” LaVorgna said in response, referencing the stalled coronavirus relief talks.

“And even though this economy is coming back a lot faster than people had anticipated, if we can do more to help Americans who are suffering, let’s do it.”

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FOX Business’ Megen Henney contributed to this report.

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