The Coronavirus Recovery Forecast Is Lengthening to ‘Months If Not Years'

Just last month, 20 million U.S. workers lost their jobs, more than double the total number of jobs lost in the 2008 recession

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As President Donald Trump promises a quick comeback from the coronavirus pandemic and the country tentatively starts to reopen, many are hoping for what some are calling a V-shaped recovery.

That's where the economic uptick happens as quickly as the downturn. But Financial and economic analyst Jim Lowell doesn't think that outcome is very likely.

He subscribes to another prediction: the V-W recovery, where the economy goes forward in fits and starts. Lowell said there will be no normalcy until a vaccine is widely available, which could be a year away. And the 1.4 million newly unemployed in Massachusetts are not likely to find work anytime soon.

“Some industries will benefit sooner, others may be beleaguered not just for months or quarters but for years to come,” Lowell said.

In a COVID-19 update, Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker announces a 4-phased plan to reopen the economy.

The airline and transportation industries have been hard hit, as have restaurants, which are now required to adhere to social distancing. That can cut into the number of customers by half.

“If you’re selling that many fewer meals, it means you may have less profit, you pay less taxes, and so it goes,” Eileen McAnneny, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said.

Back in April, the foundation forecasted a V-shaped recovery. But, McAnenny said, “since then, it seems like with the gradual reopening of the economy, the recovery will take months if not years.”

For perspective, just last month, 20 million U.S. workers lost their jobs, more than double the total number of jobs lost in the 2008 recession. McAnenny said it took Massachusetts years to recover from that. 

A silver lining: With more people working remotely there is less commuting, which helps with congestion and carbon emissions. Online learning also has the ability to open doors.

“I think we'll learn how to adapt and how to adjust and they will innovate," McAnneny said. "And I think that’s always a good thing.”

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