US MAY BE FLATTENING THE WRONG CURVE, NOT COVID’S, EXPERTS SAY
US economic recovery showed signs of plateauing last week as the country battled rising coronavirus case counts and an increasingly fractured government response, according to data from a broad set of industry and government sources, Howard Schneider wrote for Reuters early on July 18, 2020.
Indices measuring the national recovery from the New York Federal Reserve here Goldman Sachs here and Oxford Economics have all largely stalled. Meanwhile real-time measures of retail foot traffic and employee work hours and shifts have flatlined after steady growth since April spawned optimism for a swift rebound from the recession triggered by the global pandemic.
At the same time, evidence of retrenchment is spreading beyond the high-profile examples of Texas, Florida and California, major state economies where efforts to reopen commerce have been thrown into reverse by fresh restrictions to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
Since the beginning of the fight against the pandemic the aim has been to “flatten the curve” - meaning stem the growth in infections. Instead, four months in, it may be the wrong curve that is flattening as the recovery slows while the virus surges ahead. Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Raphael Bostic said on Thursday the early strength of the recovery surprised him, but “the question is as we have gotten to this point what should we expect moving forward. Real-time evidence suggests there is a bit more reticence in the economy.”