US 2020 GDP Could be -2% With Possible Pandemic Economic Recovery By End of 2021

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve published results of a survey of 35 economic forecasters on August 14, 2020. They predicted the US economy would expand at an annual rate of 19.1 percent in the third quarter. This was almost double the prediction of 10.6 percent from the last survey. The forecasters expected real GDP to decrease 5.2 percent in 2020 but to recover and annual rates of between 2.2 percent to 3.5 percent over each of the following three years.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve provides daily and weekly updates of forecasts and uses GDPNow metrics to estimate the third-quarter GDP.

The September 16, 2020 GDPNow model estimate for real GDP growth (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the third quarter of 2020 is 31.7 percent which is up from 30.8 percent on September 10. After recent data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and the U.S. Census Bureau, increases in the nowcasts of third-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth and third-quarter real gross private domestic investment growth from 32.9 percent and 35.1 percent, respectively, to 34.2 percent and 35.9 percent, respectively, were slightly offset by a decrease in the nowcast of third-quarter real government spending growth from 17.9 percent to 17.2 percent.

If the GDPNow is correct with nearly 32% GDP growth in the 3rd quarter then this would shave 3% off of the annual GDP decrease. The US might have only -2% GDP growth in 2020. This would mean a fully economic recovery could be possible by the end of 2021.

The GDPNow US GDP estimate of about -2% would be improved from the August estimates of -5%.

In June 2020, the IMF had forecasted the US would have -8% GDP in 2020.

Obviously, the final economic result depends on what the pandemic situation is in the fourth quarter and in 2021.

There is a lot of uncertainty in economic forecasts. The 2021 price of oil per barrel is forecasted at between $20 and $90.

China is reporting the first half of 2020 is down 1% versus the first half of 2019. China will likely report a full 2020 GDP of 3%. This would be an improvement over the June IMF forecast that China would end 2020 at -1%.

The economic situation for different countries will depend upon how COVID plays out. Here are the COVID death rates for the US and the world up til now.

However, other than delays from large surges and second and third waves, the world and countries are now relatively prepared and are handling the economic hits and ready to rev their economies back to recovery as the pandemic gets controlled.

SOURCES- Philadelphia and Atlanta Fed, EIA, IMF, Worldometers, China Statistical Bureau
Written By Brian Wang,

84 thoughts on “US 2020 GDP Could be -2% With Possible Pandemic Economic Recovery By End of 2021”

  1. The thought had crossed my mind. Though, I am sure there are many people optimistic about the plan. And Biden has talked about $50/hr jobs for these people. A formula for increased division. Favoritism never has positive results.

  2. Actually, I was kind of agreeing with your original post. I guess it didn't come across, but I thought "at less than $1 trillion" (of totally new spending) being a bargain was pretty hilarious, let alone the idea of continuing it for a decade. But I guess these days such a claim has to be taken seriously.

  3. And then there is killing net neutrality. That hurts everyone with Internet. Just benefits stockholders of ISP companies.
    "In December 2017, 83% of voters supported keeping the rules on net neutrality, including 75% of Republican voters, 89% of Democratic voters, and 86% of independent voters."
    Too much lobby money. Just a big flip-off of the US public by the Trump administration.

  4. And we were going to get lead out of Avgas. Fuels had already been engineered and tested, and factories set up to produce it. They even had better fuels that gave more range to the aircraft. 170,000 airplanes all releasing a haze of lead over the country settling on our soil. Rice has lead in it mostly because small aircraft are used to disperse the seed. Many farms use aircraft to spray all sorts of things on their crops. This is a big reason there is lead in our food even most baby food:
    The EPA tried to phase it out in 2010, but special interests killed it then. Obama had things set up to change to unleaded in 2018. But the Trump administration never followed through.

  5. Failure to participate in trade alliance opportunities:
    This was a big deal. Opportunities like this don't come along every year. Someone needs to tell Trump that we are the #2 exporting country in the World. It may not be too late, if Biden is elected and he is not stupid. This thing could literally make tens of trillions of dollars difference over time. If it is good enough for New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Japan, why not us?
    Trump killed the agreement Obama got from the auto industry to improve fuel efficiency:
    This was a major mistake. The auto makers wanted this. No one of them can do this on their own because their cars would cost a bit more (to pay for the research) and not have the same horse power numbers and people would not buy them. Consumers will choose 500…600…700HP cars and trucks even though 300 HP is just fine. And they also can't do it together, as this would be collusion! No! The only way they can do it is in compliance with a government regulation. We don't export many cars. The World does not want our cars, because they are inefficient. We could export more than Germany, if we had World leading efficiency, or close: $200B+.

  6. If you want to make a positive improvement in these people's lives tech them art. And get them selling their art. Teach them music. Give them singing lessons. 
    You have to come to terms with reality. If they could not get and hold jobs when the economy was booming they probably could not be taught much. The sad reality is that people with IQs below 80 can't be taught to do most of the jobs available. There were jobs for these people in the past. But they have mostly been replaced by one somewhat brighter guy with a machine replacing 5 guys who are not so bright. Robot garbage trucks, crane operators move containers rather than dockworkers carrying bags of coffee, bananas, or whatever. Hay bales are moved by machine. Crops mostly harvested by machine. The human "beast of burden" jobs are mostly gone.
    Roughly 8% of the US population is below 80 IQ. That is 26.4 million Americans.
    There are two different issues here. And they need two different solutions.
    I also believe we can prevent many of these cases of below 80 IQ. We need to routinely test for blood lead levels, and apply lead remediation measures, take steps to prevent shaken baby syndrome, bad injuries from falls (concrete floors/steps I think are a problem), physical abuse, drug and alcohol addiction during pregnancy, poor nutrition during pregnancy, and we need to enhance quiet at sleep time. We know Iodine, choline, fish, and fruit during pregnancy increase IQ. And not trivially.

  7. Sorry, that is a terrible and expensive plan. We have to break down the artificial barriers to competition not erect more. We need to move more toward meritocracy. We moved partly away from good ol' boy and pork for buddies. But we moved toward giveaways to the incompetent and embrace of inferior productivity and design for fat union wages and insincere effort to actually produce.

    I'm sorry, if you are serious about infrastructural improvement we need the best thoughts, skills, equipment, work ethic, and competence. Fly-by-night start ups that only started to suck up the handouts, would be worst than the Solyndra fiasco. And the companies should already have equipment and skilled workers. For one, if they already have equipment a lot of it paid off they don't have to gouge to pay for that, taking a lot from the wages. When you don't award to a company with equipment and people who know how to use it, you get disasters like the Whitefish stupidity in Puerto Rico

    Working on infrastructure can be very dangerous. If you hire morons, people are going to die and expensive equipment is going to be destroyed.

    If they are determined to get productive jobs for minorities, they need to fund training programs…but anyone who does not cut the mustard should not be hired for industrial/construction work. Accidents cost lives. We also have to get value for our investments.

  8. The health and mortality risks of COVID-19 are extremely exaggerated.

    This is a government and media manufactured crisis.

    Sweden reacted logically.

  9. Here is what I would like from you Mark.

    Stand by your statements.

    Dont pretend that you really meant something else when being caught in error.

    Back up your claims with proof. And similarly, when being presented with evidence, either debunk the new evidence or accept it as fact. Dont just pretend that its raining and continue claiming disproven ideas.

    Google before commenting. Its painfully clear that you do zero checking before commenting. None of your statements here on NBF are factually correct.

    How about that for starters, Mark?

  10. No it wasnt Mark. This sub-thread started on the topic of small businesses, i.e. economy. You replied that the USA was worse off than any other country (false).

    When I debunked that statement you swiwelled to stating that the USA would experience much more than 2% economic contraction in 2020.

    And now you pretend that you were really talking about number of deaths. That the USA is worse of in terms of deaths..

    But here is the thing Mark… Your claim is also false in that context…

    I allready provided proof – in reply to your comments above – that the USA is not significantly worse of than other countries in terms of (covid-) deaths per capita. I provided a link.

  11. You got it backwards. It the person claiming something that is not generally known as a fact who has the burden of proof. And it is not generally accepted that large portions of the population wants anyone to starve.

  12. Technically, the US federal government will never go bankrupt. Since it has the ability to generate additional revenue thru taxation, more than $280T worth of federal government assets that can be sold, and the ability to print an unlimited supply of new US currency to pay any debt obligations.

  13. That comment wasn't on the -2% GDP. That comment addressed the total number of dead and the number of daily deaths and our current status vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

  14. I thought I already answered this. Of course, there was strong political opposition to what FDR was doing to alleviate the "Great Depression". I won't be doing your home work for you. That's what Google is for.

  15. So what measurable bad outcome would you expect from a second Trump term? Zero economic growth? Being invaded by Russia? Making a coup to disband the congress? Covid-19 vaccines that make people sick?

  16. If you are interested in finding a true cluster-f, then look no further than Sweden. Sweden should be compared to it's neighboring countries Norway, Finland and Denmark. Similar systems, similar population densities, similar governmental systems, similar geographical location, similar demographics, similar levels of health…

    The number of deaths per capita of Sweden tops the neighbors deaths per capita by a factor 5-12 [1]. And at the same time, the economic impact of Covid-19 will be worse for Sweden compared to the neighbors. Now that is a manifested failure!


  17. I'm sorry you don't bother finding out facts before commenting.

    The USA is in place 10 when it comes to deaths per capita [1]. And this is the correct measure, not the absolute number of deaths. Relatively speaking, add or subtract a third of the deaths and the per capita deaths of the USA is on par with most of Europe.

    Furthermore, the USA is a republic where the different states are responsible for their own Covid-19 coordination and efforts. It is therefore wrong to blame the federal government for mistakes that are made on the state level.


  18. Please show me proof that large portions would like that the other people to starve. Put up or shut up.

    As for looking at things objectively, there is nothing factual or indeed even a logical argument in your comment. Your only claim is that the other side is evil and you claim that without proof. How about we start there?

  19. Give Trump another four years and this might come true. 2020 is such a bad lucky year I fear that Trump might just win re-election. My hope is to survive to 2021 so that our luck might change.

  20. I am sorry if you think 200+K dead is a success. I think differently. I remember Ms. Clinton was hounded for years over the death of 4 persons and she wasn't even in charge of security. I remember Trump asking for President Obama resignation when two people died od Ebola.

    There has to be one objective standard for evaluating performance. Not the current system where Democrats must be perfect and Republicans are never responsible fr anything.

  21. I wasn't comparing the GDP of different countries. What I was stating that there is no way we are -2% GDP of Dec 2019 GDP in 3rd Quarter, 2021. We have another 10 to 12 months of COVID to get thru. No COVID relief. I expect a large percentage of small business to fail. I also expect a lot of foreclosure. We are just at the beginning of the journey. It will get a lot worse before it starts to get better.

  22. There was a large potion wishing people would starve since most people was in the same boat. The pressure came for some of the very rich. As for the economy hitting, there were rich people back then who wanted it. And there are people today arguing it.

    As far as arguing the best way to provide essential services I am for that as long as we are allowed to look and objectively evaluate what works and what don't. No screams of socialist and communist allowed.

    As for morality, I believe we should be able to agree that letting people starve to death should always be a no no.

  23. Yet somehow, in spite of "Republican tax cuts for the rich", federal gross tax revenues have increased in every fiscal year of the Trump Administration so far.

  24. So lets look at the actual hight tech projects. Did SpaceX slow down? Did Tesla slow down? Are plans for new battery factories being scrapped? How about Nvidias roadmap? 5g? Ans so on…

    The answer to all these questions are "no". This means that your fears are unfounded.

  25. It's an interesting question. Would a leftie notice if they were oppressed by China? Would he care?

    The leftie could still denounce white people, the founding of the USA, patriarchy and capitalism. I don't see China doing anything but popping popcorn when that happens….

    And the leftie doesn't really care if Uigurs are sent to camps or if China anects some islands in the south pacific sea. Nor does he care if we have to ask Chinas permission for international deals, our TV-shows or if China buys up companies and/or land in the rest of the world. We already know that people of the left cares zero for Taiwan or Hong Kong…

    But with time, the leftie would have to start hating something else. If the USA is not the "big dog" any more, what would be the point of hating a once were giant that sits sulking in his corner of the world..?

  26. There used to be this real/ parody/ hate-inspired/ thought-provoking/ college extremist propaganda-type flow-chart circulating: "Do you deserve to be poor?" – it would take several episodes within a person's life, and based on the decision at the time, do a full-stop of saying one way or the other… i can't find it, but recall decision tree items such as: "your sick mother asks you to stay home for a year to help raise a younger sibling.. do you go off to school/ work/ own place? .. stay and help? -> You deserve to be poor. " "A promotion beckons if you undercut a fellow worker/ sign-off on a mass layoff plan .. disagree and find a better solution? -> You deserve to be poor. .".. and so on… similar thinking seems to pervade… fragmented, fringe-y, false and extreme dichotomy….

  27. I have one hope to solve this problem. New disruptive technology will provide a rapidly expanding tax base and thus finance the dept.

  28. Formulating it this way instead..

    Utter nonsense.

    There are no large portions that wish for starvation for anyone and there are no large portions that wish for the economy to hit rock bottom. And people dissagree with FDR for prolonging the depression with the well intended but destructive "new deal".

    What does exist are people that dissagree about the best methods to reach good economy, good health, good security for the USA. And there exists, of course, people that are incapable of arguing points so they resort to questioning the moral motives of the other side

  29. I see a lot of semantics and people talking past each other, but not a lot of defining concepts such as 'failed' – how many deaths would be considered ok? What level of GDP deterioration is acceptable? I remember seeing one of those old Bruce Willis movies – Diehard or its sequels (with a truly memorable selection of quotes) when the special forces crew chief said: "…we may lose 30 – 40 hostages, but that is acceptable collateral damage…". Unbelievable how many of each fringe group (that's ok or unbelievable level of callousness) and how each group was shocked that the other position even existed. Such is the state of fragmented populations and identity politics.

  30. What specifically is this disaster? What specifically has he done that is so bad? And please don't reply by claiming he's a fascist or pointing to tweets. I'm talking about executive orders and/or legislation.

  31. Well, if you believe that, why don't you push for as many debates as possible? 

    After all, Biden will not loose his thread and start his moniker "come on man", forget where he is, the names of reporters, where is wife is. His wife will not have to collect him from the stage when it's time to go. 

    That would not happen, no sir..

  32. Hahahaha! Would it kill ya to google before offering your opinion?

    Sweden has -5% GDP for 2020 and only 3.1% recovery in 2021 [1]. In 2021 Sweden is projected to have 1.6 inflation, which leaves only 1.5% recovery. That is, Sweden will be worse of at the end of 2021 compared to the USA at the end of 2020.

    The same is also true for Germany [2], France [3] and Italy [4]. All of them will be worse off at the end of 2021 compared to the USA at the end of 2020. I just picked the three most populous countries in the EU to make my point, but I am sure that very few, if any, country in the EU will be better of than the USA.





  33. Complete B-S.

    Of course there is no large portion that believes people should starve, nor does any large portion believe that economy should hit rock bottom.  If you dissagree, then post a link to a survey that shows just that.

    What exists is different opinions of what is the best method of obtaining good health care, good economy, security, etc. But, since leftists cannot argue the point, they always try to argue the moral motivations of the other side. Please do better.

  34. …. My point: a damaged economy in a top G7 country is more than the loss of bulk jobs, over-spending, and coming-together — its is almost always the first-loss of great projects, elite enterprises, and promising dreamers being pulled back to the drudgery of just 'helping your fellow man' – crucial, but at a cost that few realize – as they scan their evening news to see if the numbers are 'getting back up there'. I wish that I knew how the space program derailed in the 1970s thru 1990s+, solar and electric cars were stunted in the early 2000s, and other possible scientific advancements/ business greatness were back-seated due to recessions, policy shifts, and other detours. Covid will do more to stunt great thinkers, rare restaurants/ art/ experiences, great social events, etc. When i see burning man, all the cons (san diego, etc), 20% EV up-take, over-the-top orbital construction and tourism projects, 20+ sci-fi cruises a year, anti-ageing trials with success, outdoor events of 100k+ revellers, craft brewers on every block, and other such 'indications' of a true national success; not the ability to keep inflation under 2.5% and a UI of under 4% — then I know that the 'economy' is back. But this 'true success' may be several years delayed – and that is the tragedy. For being alive and surviving with my mortgage expenses covered by the gov't, is not really living.

  35. I regret my inability to communicate my point: At the risk of being branded as an over-educated, entitled Gen-Xer — I am worried about the opportunity forever lost by our over-reaction to this epidemic. My great-Gram – still alive, often talks about living through post-WW2 London. It is glamorous, in a sense, about many different people coming together to re-build a city and surrounding infrastructure, mostly from scratch… but 1945 to early 1950s lead to a re-thinking of socio-economic policy – austerity, rationing, welfare state, socialized housing, nationalization, and more comprehensive taxing and centralized control – an overall sense of equality and fairness was the new goal. My Gram's university degree was shunned and she was 'encouraged' into a more 'noble' socialized work environment assisting with the planning and assisting of the most vulnerable – her education credentials ignored in serving of the 'greater good'. Her ambition was ridiculed. Her freedom to start-up her own for-profit facility blocked. Unions flourished. No person left behind. Of course all were fed – but did any flourish? Of course, the economy recovered but were they now a state of sheep? Did handcuffing great endeavours mean that more were educated and clothed? The lost of entrepreneurship, individual businesses, risky undertakings, and unlikely profit projects likely allowed the creation of a beige broth of brotherhood and common support….

  36. I completely agree that we are in a recession. No doubt about it. All your graphs accurately reflect that the economy has definitely shrunk, but that doesn't mean it's permanent. In my 52 years of life I've seen a number of recessions, most notably during the early 80s, the 87 stock market crash, and the 2008 mortgage lender crisis, as well as the 1973 Oil Embargo where people were lined up for miles waiting to get gas. My grandparents lived through the 1930s Depressions and spoke about it often. In all cases, the economy recovered. There are a number of reasons for that. One, free market economies are extremely resilient. Two, the govt has an extensive amount of experience and understanding of how to deal with these types of crises. Look how fast we bounced back from 2008. And finally, when you look at GDP, the actual amount of shrinkage is pretty small. Minute in fact. Trust me, once a vaccine is okayed the economy will come roaring back. Even without one, its already on the road to recovery.

  37. Of course, every person has a different perspective on what is 'reasonable/ successful/ important' and as someone with significant family in eastern European countries and knowing what their pre-covid unemployment rate, income, access to healthcare, access to goods, levels of wealth, etc., are, we are blessed-as-h3ll at the levels of opportunity here (not to say we didn't deserve and work for it). What I see here now is comparable to what I see in those crap countries during their good times, and I would rather be dead than live in such a place when I had the opportunity to live and prosper here, as was available in our good times pre-Feb 2020. They speak of the importance of family, community, and the bond from having common cause against government, local corruption, etc., but the lack of individual opportunity and freedom is priceless and the wealth that generates is inspiring. So now is not ok and should not be shrugged off as the start of an easy and inevitable path to 'back to the way it was'. That is not certain. I hope that the resilience of us is as people say, but some of that resilience needs to come from small business coming back from near-impossible odds made manifest from large-scale disruptive forces (obvious on Fortune 500 balance sheets, but not grin-and-bear-it mom and pop shops, no matter what they say). Hope for us all.

  38. subway use:
    (so, dude these are significant economic changes that if felt in a typical recession would be considered catastrophic — numbers on a scale described as well beyond the Great Depression — and impossible to believe as sustainable in the next 3 – 6 months, not the next 3 – 6 decades as with the national debt) Screw the grand-children – let's just try to get this working generation back on track.

  39. I don't doubt that a new normal will be established but see the following graphs and note that it is hard to see the desperation on many and to see the disruption within typical neighbourhoods and local areas compared to what is felt in a bigger picture setting, but the changes, both recent and ongoing are significant and lasting:

  40. That last time the US actually had no debt was in 1835 when President Andrew Jackson was in office. Since then we've been continuously in debt.

    It is true that in the 90s when Clinton was in the office there was a budget surplus, and the amount of debt in relation to our GDP did go down. But we were never even close to paying off the debt. In fact federal spending increased.

    It is also true that Bush 2 did significantly increase the debt by cutting taxes and the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, Obama kept those cuts in place as well as continued fighting both wars. And in fact the debt grew significantly while he was in office.

    Its important to note that entitlements and other federal programs make up most of the budget, i.e. medicaid, medicare, social security, unemployment, other benefits, etc. The defense budget is actually only about 16% of the federal budget. It's the entitlement programs that will actually drive us into bankruptcy.

  41. I mean no disrespect, but to say that you are exaggerating is an understatement. Nothing fundamental has changed, except our debt has gone up. In 10 years COVID will be a footnote, much like the Spanish Flu, or the Black Death of 1347. I remember reading back then people thought it heralded the end of the world. It didn't. Life went own and society recovered. Despite all the Chicken Littles of the world, humans are actually pretty resilient when they want to be.

    What small business destruction? Except for bars, everything where I live is open: cafes, restaurants, small businesses, etc. I just talked to tree removal guy yesterday, and last week had a plumber install a water heater. All 3 of my renters are working. Two were unemployed, but they still paid rent even though I offered to defer it. Also, haven't seen any desperation on the streets. The real angst will come in 15-30 years when the free lunch runs out. Govt debt is unsustainable. Eventually those chickens are going to come home to roost.

  42. You really think Trump deserve four more years considering the results of his first three years? It is great to be a Republican politician because every disaster is immediately forgotten and forgiven.

    It doesn't matter much to me if he wins since the stench in the White House will just continue for another four years. I doubt it will serve the Republican Party well.

  43. To be accurate our real unemployment rate is the percentage of people who don't work which is about 60%: children, retirees, homemakers, college students, etc. The government cooked numbers are just those people actively looking for work. But since it has always been the case, that's the number we need to use to compare one administration to another. You know, apples to apples.

  44. After 8 years of President Clinton our deficit were at a record low with a projection of paying off the National Debt. President Bush came into the office and cut taxes twice. Our deficit shot up and the economy crashed. After 8 yrs of President Obama, our deficit were at a low. And what happen? President Trump came into the office and cut taxes, then COVID happen. Our deficit is now at a record high. Maybe if we are truly concerned about the deficit and the debt we should stop voting for Republicans because they are the ones responsible for our deficit and for our debt.

  45. Look around the world, almost no other country is in the state the US is in. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the US has failed.

  46. Things tend to get bad when things fall apart. A large portion of our government and of our population believe it is better if the government does not interfere with the country hitting rock bottom never mind the toll. There are people who still hate FDR for not letting a large portion of the population starve to death. People who believe death by starvation is a good way to be rid of excess workers.

  47. Their projection is based on what? Willfull dreaming? COVID acts like cancer. It is going to metastasized. It will spread from urban areas to suburban and rural areas where it will exploded. Just like it did when it spread from the east and west coast to the south. Coupled that with the fact there will not be a second COVID Bill what is going to happen is a collapse.

  48. I agree. Current "Daily new cases" are vastly under-counted. The virus is much more wide spread and endemic than earlier in the year.

  49. If the rich want their assets to remain valuable, they need to tell the government to get more serious about the national debt. Too many though are only looking one quarter ahead. They need to get a clue.
    I have written up a big plan for paying off the National Debt…had to amend it this year because the measure would not have been enough because so much is being added.
    If this continues, which it is almost certain to do regardless of which way people vote, we could reach hyperinflation and currency collapse inside15 years. Way too few people are paying attention to this.
    We have been stimulated so much we are becoming intoxicated and addicted.
    And military spending has got to come down…there is absolutely no way around this. $200-250 billion max! But we need to close to double what we get for that. Open nearly every contract to competition from foreign as well as domestic suppliers. It is high time we started getting value for our money. We also need to pressure and incentivize our domestic suppliers to automate and produce efficiently at scale, so not only the Fed gets value, but other countries also will purchase more American made equipment. We foolishly made a bunch of companies merge. This was a very bad move. We have to break these up. We also need to build more ship yards, more advanced metal mills, more enormous presses, and more advanced speedy 3D printing facilities.
    But, of course, military spending is just one piece of the puzzle.

  50. No, you are right Brett; it is no accident that Democrats are attempting to vote early. The reason, however, is that Trump has undermined the postal service and then whines about non-existent, mail-in voter fraud. The idea that Democrats are voting early because they fear Biden's lack of debating skills, unlike Trump's remarkable word-salad hysteronics, is equally inventive. Today, you win the Poppycock award for Trump-level disinformation!

  51. 2-3 million cases were missed early on, but the reason death rates are down is because we zeroed in on dexamethasone as the best drug to stop the immune over reactions that were killing many of the people dying. Dexamethasone saves around 2/3 of those who would otherwise die. Death rates went from around 6% to around 2%. Some other drugs may also be helping but to a lesser degree. Some just shorten stays at the hospital…but that helps too…freeing up beds.
    And the word has gotten out about Vitamin D helping to reduce the chance of a bad case. If we can get Vitamin D to everyone, maybe rates can come down to 1%.
    Can't call it a "bad flu" unless you count the Spanish flu as in that category…in which case, there is no point, as that was very bad. Not Ebola bad, but bad.

  52. I really do think the economy can bounce back, and much faster than any of these people are saying. There will be vaccines and quick cheap tests will ramp up.
    Some jobs not coming back? Well, that is true. Companies fold, but new ones will be started, and competitors will expand.
    Soup Plantation, Chuck E Cheese, Pizza Hut, Gold’s Gym, 24 Hour Fitness, Hertz, and Tailored Brands will be replaced by other companies or some of these may reemerge after chapter 11. 
    People still want to go to gyms, eat sit-down pizza, eat veggie buffet, buy suits, and rent cars.
    Yes, a lot of small companies up in flames. Many of these will also be replaced.

  53. But this recovery IS being purchased at a horrific cost, that much is true. The inevitable collapse of our currency has been accelerated, possibly by decades.

    At this point the government's debt has gotten so huge that keeping interest rates near zero has become an existential priority for the government, because at any rational rate of interest, the carrying cost of all that debt would be crushing.

    And the debt is going to keep going up at a phenomenal pace, even when Covid 19 is history, because political realities simply won't permit the spending level to be significantly reduced from emergency levels, any more than the 2007 emergency spending got cut back to previous levels.

    We jumped off the fiscal cliff back in 2007. In 2020 we strapped on a rocket backpack and began a vertical power dive. Let's just hope we can become a bit more self-sufficient before the crash renders our currency worthless for international trade.

  54. "Daily new cases" is a joke. That metric is too contaminated by variations in testing rates and criteria to be used for comparisons across time. (Vs comparisons between places that are matched on those metrics. THAT you can reasonably do.)

    You can see that by contrasting daily new cases with daily deaths: You really think that high initial death rate, (Largely confined to NY and NJ, let us recall.) was achieved with hardly anybody contracting the virus? That it mutated from Super Ebola level virulence to a bad influenza in the space of a few months?

    Back to the chief point of the OP. Yes, it seems that, if you cause a recession by ordering businesses to close, when you permit them to open again you get a recovery. (Still, a terrifying number of small businesses lacked the resources to survive the closures, and are gone.)

    It's not an accident that Democrats have pulled out all the stops in promoting early voting. They know the economy is recovering at an impressive rate, they want as many people to have voted before they notice as humanly possible.

    Well, part of that is just fear that Biden will show up for the first debate and think he's running for the Senate, or fall asleep in front of a live camera.

  55. So long as it's the <i>real</i> China (RoC) overtaking the US, I could think it good. I have seen first-hand the result of foreign policy of the fake China (PRC) on other countries, and it is as bad as the US ever was in the late 19th Century, when it was at its worst.

  56. I don’t think anyone wants the nation that’s running Muslim concentration camps today while also taking over international waters with artificial islands running anything.

  57. I find it funny (as a overall cynic) that the Republicans in the US always claim the Democrats are creating a welfare state, yet every time one emerges, the Republicans create it. We are witnessing a lesson on how to create a Feudal state that is being taught by the GOP.

  58. dunno. small business destruction may mean much not coming back. High Street and Main Street cafes, restaurants, boutiques, small professional services' firms — likely been in the family/ business/ sole owner for generations/ whole career finally collapsed: so, gentrification, ruthless landlords, developers, chains, and other real estate vultures — seeing the desperation may transform downtowns more than even the walmarts ever could. Besides, much of the mainstay city infrastructure may no longer be viable such as transit, clubs, large gathering venues, and other communal activities. Also, much of the upper middle class/ oldies appear to be fleeing or at least relocating their principle residences/ main working spaces to the exurbs, more vacation-y feeling areas, and other such less dense locales – enjoying the non-commute at the cost of the rich urban experience. Perhaps the re-birth of slower, small town values and spread out spaces – all because of the zoom meeting, the endless mask/ group-size/ line-up restrictions, and the liberal high-roading. Early retirements, easy-government/mega-corp positions, bottom 50% renters no longer wanting to eke out a city existence, less-then-professional sports league teams/ fans, and driven city slickers will no longer drive an over-heated, experience/ service-filled economy. Something fundamental has changed.

  59. The recent tax gift, or wealth transfer from the middle class to the rich and the corporations, certainly didn't help, did it?

  60. Always the clinical, glossed over version, eh Brian? Let's talk about the Three Horsemen of Covid Doom. We have record unemployment, but more importantly, jobs that are NEVER coming back. We have a record number of Americans on food stamps, or worse, undernourished, as in people suffering from food insecurity. We have a record number of people about to become homeless, no fault of their own. Those are the problems we should be discussing.

  61. The truly bad news is what's not discussed in this article: the Federal Debt and the Federal Deficit. The Fed Debt is now $26.7 Trillion. It was going up on average about $1T a year since we can't balance our budget. This year due to COVID it went up just about $4T.

    All the above is unsustainable. Even before COVID we were on the road to bankruptcy, it was just a longer path. COVID just speeded up the process. Many in Congress have countered that debt is cheap and thus there is no reason to worry. Of course, they fail to grasp that as our debt increases, the amount of money we spend on interest to service it also increases, which over time will begin to eat up more and more of the budget and the GDP. At some point, either thru inflation, rising interest costs, or rising interest rates, and the added cost of more entitlements (like free college for example) we will reach a point where we run out of money, creditors, or both. None of this will happen soon, but I think the Congressional Budget Office made some statements that sometime in the 2035-2050 time frame we will be in serious financial straits.

  62. It's all about unemployment. I think the pandemic 'baked in' an additional 3-5% which is 'semi-structural' unemployment; way above the 2019 structural unemployment rate of mid 3s %. See anything below 6% in the next 3 – 5 years doubtful – though part-time (economic reasons) and under-employment rate (U-6s and such) may get to 10%. Gig work and day-trading for food/rent could a significant portion of 'work'.

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