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The Pandemic’s Long Economic Shadow

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While mass vaccination points to an end to the COVID-19 pandemic in the next year or so, it does not provide immunity against longer-term economic damage. And research on the aftermath of previous pandemics suggests that the impact on supply and demand is likely to be far-reaching and profound.

The outlook for economic and financial markets hinges on the interplay between two cycles – the COVID-19 cycle and the business cycle. Notwithstanding the true miracles of modern science that we are now witnessing, the post-pandemic economy is in need of more than just a vaccine.

Extraordinary damage was done by last spring’s lockdown. Now, a second and more horrific wave of the coronavirus is at hand – not dissimilar to the course of the 1918-20 influenza outbreak.

In the United States, the adverse economic repercussions are evident in mounting jobless claims in early December and a sharp decline in retail sales in November. With partial lockdowns now in place in about three-quarters of US states, a decline in economic activity in early 2021 seems likely. The history of the US business cycle warned us of […]

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