We think of the laws of nature, specifically the theory of gravity. To rephrase Earth, Wind & Fire, “what goes down must come up.” The reality of the short-term situation is that unemployment is spiking. With the two largest weekly initial jobless claims readings on record, and not even by a close measure, the US lost half of the jobs that were gained since the global financial crisis of 2008. The chart below shows that unemployment spikes into recessions. We believe that the recession is here, we just do not know the duration. Experts are left wondering how fast this unemployment number will come back down. Analysts are left wondering how soon small companies will run out of money. We are left wondering how quickly the average world consumer will be able to flip the switch from saver to spender once again.
We cheer any good news on the virus front, but we hesitate to make any big moves on a one-day change in any virus metric. How soon will our country, and indeed the world, open back up for business? What will that look like? How many once-laid off will be able to find a job waiting for them upon the end of the health crisis/lockdown. Unemployment numbers like we are seeing do not go down overnight; of course, they are normally not created overnight either.
For all of the pessimism, the cardinals are out in our trees, the first buds of spring are on the tree branches, and we are all spending more time with our immediate families than we ever thought possible. Not everything is doom and gloom. There will be a end to all of this.