How this recession might be different



The following are not predictions, rather indications of how this recession (actually depression) might be different:

1. Length: The shortest recession that I can recall was in 1980, and lasted for 6 months. Some economists believe the economy bottomed in April, which would make this a 2-month recession. Even a May bottom would represent an unusually short recession.

2. Unevenness: With appropriate monetary policy, we should see many booming industries. I’m not saying this will occur, but it might. Take-out food. Online shopping. Netflix. I recently had a new automatic garage door opener installed. Any and all types of consumption that can be done safely ought to be booming. In contrast, during a normal recession almost all industries will experience decline.

Then there are grey areas like real estate. I’d be willing to buy a house right now, especially with the low mortgage rates. Is my preference typical? This summer I’ll probably take a vacation by car, rather than by air. Perhaps eating takeout food while visiting a National Park. Again, I don’t know if this is typical, and hence I don’t know how vacations by car and real estate will do this summer. Just that I could imagine them booming.

And what about boats and RVs? Camping? I’ve recently been doing more biking. What about backyard play sets for your kids, which can be delivered to your house?

Of course all of this is influenced by aggregate demand. If the Fed doesn’t provide enough NGDP, then almost all industries might suffer. If they do provide enough money, then some industries will boom while others suffer.

PS. The Bloomberg editorial board agrees with me on challenge studies for a vaccine.