By Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Raymond James
What Sort of Recovery? – For the most part, assessments of the economic impact of COVID-19 have been more qualitative than quantitative. Data reports are backward-looking and often distorted. However, in recent weeks, the unprecedented surge in jobless claims has helped us to begin assessing the economic damage from social distancing. In turn, the view of a sharp near-term decline in economic activity has become somewhat clearer. However, the outlook beyond 2Q20 remains uncertain. The pace of recovery will depend on whether we can halt the spread of the virus (good signs so far), develop palliatives, and begin to end social distancing. Expectations vary, but we should begin to see the economy starting to rebound in June. However, there are a wide range of views on the pace of recovery and there are likely to be long-lasting changes in consumer behavior.