Will We See A Recession In First-Half 2021?

Choosing a topic for today seemed like a no-brainer with all that’s going on in our country right now – the election, the Capitol riots, Trump’s latest impeachment, the inauguration, the transfer of presidential power, what the Biden administration plans to do, the Dems’ control of both houses of Congress and the White House, etc., etc.

But you know what? I don’t really want to write about any of those topics. To me, they are kind of old and boring and overplayed in the media at this point. So today, let’s focus on something different: the economy.

In Tuesday’s Forecasts & Trends, I discussed the fact there is near-unanimous agreement among well-known forecasters that we’ll have a strong economic rebound in the second half of this year. I also noted there is no such consensus on what will happen in the first half of this year, with some predicting anemic growth and others suggesting a recession just ahead.

While I don’t have a crystal ball regarding what will happen in the first half of this year, let’s look at some possibilities. With the rise of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths to new highs in recent months, anything could happen in the months just ahead.

Record Rise in COVID Infections & Deaths

As of yesterday, there have been 90,335,008 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections worldwide since the pandemic started apprx. one year ago. Over the same period, there have been 1,954,336 deaths globally from COVID-19. Almost 40 million cases have been confirmed in the US with over 381,000 deaths so far.

As noted above, the current rate of infections and deaths are at new highs today, and experts are uncertain where we are headed just ahead. The US recorded a single-day record of over 4,200 deaths on Tuesday of this week.

Earlier this week, President Trump announced sweeping changes to coronavirus vaccine rollouts, quickly making all vaccine supplies accessible now, rather than withholding doses for patients’ second shot. He also encouraged states to provide shots to residents 65 and older immediately and cautioned states with slow vaccine rollouts that they could lose some of their supply to faster-moving states.

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