Fact Check: Chris Cuomo Says U.S. GDP Shrank More Than Germany’s

Chris Cuomo during 5/30/2020 CNN coverage
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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo claimed on Thursday night that the U.S. economy had contracted by more than the German economy, which he blamed on President Donald Trump’s ‘mishandling’ of the pandemic.

CLAIM: “We were down almost 33%, and of course, the reason is COVID. But it’s how this president mishandled COVID. What’s the proof? Lots of countries are dealing with COVID, right? Why are we down almost a third of our GDP growth, and yet Germany was down 10%?”

VERDICT: FALSE.

The U.S. economy did not shrink by more than the German economy.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday that economy contracted at nearly a 33 percent annualized rate.  Germany’s government reported that its economy contracted 10.1 percent from the previous quarter.

These two figures cannot, however, be directly compared because the U.S. GDP is an annualized figure and the German figure is not annualized. The U.S. is almost alone in the world in releasing its official GDP figures on an annualized basis. So to make and apples-to-apples comparison, you have to do a bit of recalculation.

The German economy contracted on 34.7 percent when annualized—slightly more than the 32.9 percent contraction in the U.S.

If the U.S. GDP is measures in the European fashion, it contracted 9.5 percent—slightly better than Germany’s 10.1 percent.

Cuomo was eager to pin the difference in economic performance on President Trump when he thought the U.S. was lagging. Time will tell if he now credits Trump with the superior economy.

Cuomo’s claim that the U.S. economy is down by almost a third is also misleading, resembling the false claim by Brian Williams made on MSNBC the very same night.

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