Source: Alex Tostado in District of ColumbiaSoutheast

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew 33.1 percent in the third quarter on an annualized basis. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected growth to reach 32 percent. The third-quarter growth is a stark contrast to the second quarter, when GDP plummeted 31.4 percent due to the coronavirus shutdown. The most recent figure sets the record for post-World War II growth, more than doubling the previous mark of 16 percent set in the first quarter of 1950.

The economic surge, though, does not mean the economy is back to its pre-pandemic levels. The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that initial unemployment claims for the week ending Oct. 24 reached 751,000. The total is the lowest mark since the onset of the pandemic, but still historically high. Initial claims in February of this year hovered around 200,000 per week. Continuing claims, for which data lags a week, came in at nearly 7.8 million for the week ending Oct. 17, a decrease of 709,000 claims from the previous week.