COVID-19

Business economists predict tough winter before 2021 rebound

Meghan McCarty Carino Dec 7, 2020
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A new survey from the National Association for Business Economists predicts just moderate economic growth in the last quarter of 2020. Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Business economists predict tough winter before 2021 rebound

Meghan McCarty Carino Dec 7, 2020
Heard on:
A new survey from the National Association for Business Economists predicts just moderate economic growth in the last quarter of 2020. Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Many national business forecasters expect the economy to get back to pre-pandemic levels by the second half of next year. That’s according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economists. But they still think it’s going to be a tough haul this winter after businesses saw growth this fall.

Patricia Moody is a consultant who works with a bicycle manufacturer in South Carolina. The company was busy all through the summer and fall.

“It was just a delightful surprise,” Moody said. “People would line up to get the unassembled bicycles as they came off the trucks.”

Consumer spending helped boost some businesses according to an October NABE survey. Now forecasters are more positive about the economic prospects for late next year.

“Unquestionably, the news about a vaccine soon to be available, has, I think, sparked a good deal of optimism,” said Ken Simonson, an economist who works with the NABE.

But the recent surge of COVID-19 has tempered expectations for this winter.

“So I think, you know, there’s still a long way to go,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

While Moutray said overall manufacturing is down about 5% since before the pandemic, he points out car sales and electronics have done better than expected.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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