Health and Healthcare Systems

It could take three years for the US economy to recover from COVID-19

Passengers wearing face masks travel with their belongings at a railway station in Xianning of Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song - RC2YQF9Z9SVI

If measures fail to prevent a resurgence in the virus, the economy could take the global economy until Q3 2022 to recover Image: REUTERS/Aly Song

Laura Oliver
Writers, Forum Agenda
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The US and Eurozone’s economies could take until 2023 to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, according to a new report from consultancy McKinsey & Company.

What a muted economic recovery means for the world
What a muted economic recovery means for the world Image: McKinsey & Company

If the public health response, including social distancing and lockdown measures, is initially successful but fails to prevent a resurgence in the virus, the world will experience a “muted” economic recovery, says McKinsey. In this scenario, while the global economy would recover to pre-crisis levels by the third quarter of 2022, the US economy would need until the first quarter of 2023 and Europe until the third quarter of the same year.

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If the public health response is stronger and more successful - controlling the spread of the virus in each country within two-to-three months - the outlook could be more positive, with economic recovery by the third quarter of 2020 for the US, the fourth quarter of 2020 for China and the first quarter of 2021 for the Eurozone.

Impact on global economic recovery if the virus is contained
Impact on global economic recovery if the virus is contained Image: McKinsey & Company

In these scenarios involving partially effective interventions, policy responses could partially offset economic damage and help to avoid a banking crisis, says McKinsey. The firm has modelled nine scenarios, ranging from rapid and effective control of the virus with highly effective policy interventions to a broad failure of public health measures and ineffective policy and economic interventions.

The economic impact in the US, however, could exceed anything experienced since the end of World War II.

How does the economic impact in the US compare with WWII?
How does the economic impact in the US compare with WWII? Image: McKinsey & Company

The industries hardest hit by COVID-19, including commercial aerospace, travel and insurance, may see a slower recovery. Within the travel sector, the shock to immediate demand is estimated to be five-to-six times greater than following the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 - though recovery may be quicker for domestic travel. The crisis has also amplified existing challenges or vulnerabilities in the aerospace and automotive industries, which will affect their recovery rates.

The impact of COVID-19 by sector
The impact of COVID-19 by sector Image: McKinsey & Company

As supply chains around the world are disrupted, the report warns that the full impact is yet to be felt. Business leaders must prepare for the effects on production, transport and logistics, and customer demand. These include a slump in demand from consumers leading to inventory “whiplash,” as well as parts and labour shortages due to manufacturing plants shutting or reducing capacity.

What should we expect from supply chain distruption?
What should we expect from supply chain distruption? Image: McKinsey & Company
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Health and Healthcare SystemsGeo-Economics and PoliticsFinancial and Monetary Systems
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