Gross domestic product is a broad measure of everything U.S. workers and capital produce. In 2019 that came to about $19.2 trillion. The U.S. is currently thought to be in a recession, broadly meaning that GDP is actually becoming smaller over time rather than growing. The pace of that decline is historic.
Some project that if the current levels of activity lasted a full year, the economy might contract more than 20%. But it is quite likely growth will resume in coming weeks — in fact all 50 states have started relaxing restrictions on business as the perceived threat from the virus eases. The actual loss over the course of the year may end up being more on the order of 5% or 6%. How fast that rebound might be, and when it might start, is a matter of dispute.
Economists have adopted a sort of shorthand using letters and symbols to describe recovery from recession. The shape of the letter traces the path of growth mapped on a chart, with an emphasis on the depth of the decline and how long it takes to return to the prior level.
The probabilities and descriptions below are adapted from a paper by investment insight firm Ned Davis Research and based on data from the monthly Reuters poll on the U.S. long-term economic outlook.