The third quarter, however, was one for the record books. Gross domestic product -- the broadest measure of economic activity -- grew at an annualized and seasonally adjusted rate of 33.1% between July and September.
But with the unprecedented economic woes of the pandemic, some economists suggest actual GDP growth is the better metric to tell the story of America's economy.
Looking at the quarterly data alone, GDP grew 7.4% from the second to the third quarter, compared with a 9% decline between the first and second quarter.
The rapid growth reflects the restarting of the economy after the spring lockdown, but America is not out of the woods yet -- the annualized growth rate of the third quarter was a larger number than the decline in the second quarter, but that does not mean the economy has fully bounced back. The third-quarter's increase is coming from a lower base than the second quarter's decline.
But economists worry that the econom is slowing down again in the final three months of the year. Meanwhile, Covid-19 infections are spiking again and worries about renewed lockdown restrictions that could deepen the pandemic recession. In Europe, rising infection rates have already led to tighter rules.