By Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Raymond James
In recent weeks, the unprecedented surge in claims for unemployment benefits pointed to a horrific economic impact from COVID-19. That sinking feeling has been reinforced by the major economic releases, which have shown a sharp deterioration in economic activity in March – enough to substantially weaken the first quarter as a whole. April, and the second quarter, will be worse. Now, as states begin to open up, the economic outlook isn’t much clearer. However, the risks are more apparent. This isn’t going to be a V-shaped bottom. The economy is sure to rebound, but it will take a long time to get back to the pre-pandemic level of activity and the new normal will be different from the old.