The pandemic seems to be raging forward and we have seen a series of historically adverse economic reports. The consequence of these reports can be summed up in two numbers. First, we had the loss of over 20 million jobs in one month. Secondly, the economy contracted by over 30% in the second quarter of this year, revised slightly just last week. This was the result of the shutdown of the economy.
Even though we have seen little progress fighting the pandemic, as cases have actually risen in the summer -- the economy continues to rebound from the depths of the Spring. For example, retail sales dropped 23% in a three-month period earlier this year but gained 23% during the past three months. We have also gained over 40% of the jobs we have lost. Thus, there are reasons for optimism that, even if the pandemic has not let up, we are learning to live with the danger.
Of course, this week's jobs report will be another important benchmark which will tell us if the recovery is continuing. While we gained over six million jobs in the past two months, the rate of growth slowed down from June into July. If we gain jobs at the rate we saw in June, the recovery is coming quickly. If we gain jobs at the rate we saw in July, we will have a longer recovery period. Only time will tell, but this week we will see a particularly important indicator.