Pattie Lovett-Reid: We may see a V-shaped recovery
TORONTO -- Maybe, just maybe, we are going to get a V-shaped recovery.
If there is a word to describe how I feel about the pandemic it is "sad." I feel so sad for people who have lost their lives to this horrible disease, people who lost their job, small business owners who have had to close up shop, for those who have had their life savings evaporate and -- when it comes down to it -- anyone who has been impacted in any way.
When the fiscal update highlighted our deficit would run north of $343 billion I didn't panic. I know for now as a country we can afford it. This low interest rate environment helps, the Bank of Canada buying up bonds to provide liquidity helps and Canada continues to fare better than other countries around the globe.
My focus is always on the average Canadian trying to make ends meet and especially those who may have been struggling before the pandemic struck.
Canadians can't take on more debt. They are tapped out. The government can and did and as the PM said, "we took on debt so Canadians didn't have to". In my opinion that was a good thing to do. We don't have a playbook when it comes to shutting down the whole economy. In past recessions the money may have stopped but the people didn't.
The challenge is, we aren't through the pandemic and I fear more jobs losses are on the horizon. From a financial perspective, what I worry about most are jobs. As the CERB comes into question come the fall, families will be faced with harsh reality their lives have changed and like any challenging period of time some will be impacted more than others. Some companies will make it and some won't. Some families will rally and others won't.
However, the June jobs report showed a hint of encouragement with almost 1 million jobs created leading me to maybe just maybe believe we could see the "V" shaped economy that so many are hoping for. And while the job number surprised to the upside after 3 million jobs were lost in March and April it is still a little too soon to declare a roaring victory. There are 1 3/4 million people still unemployed. Yet, other signs of improvement point to recovery. Areas such as the real estate market in terms of sales and housing starts while vehicle sales exploded higher as well.
The analogy I will use: The patient who has a heart attack, or in this the case the economy that stopped in a heartbeat, is starting to shows signs of stabilizing. But that isn't enough. Like the patient, the economy needs a long-term recovery plan to ensure good health is sustainable.
I'm looking for long-term growth plans to get people back working. Some of the jobs losses will never come back. In my perfect world we would see money going toward new initiatives with new jobs created, supported with training, so families and business can begin to plan again.
In the meantime, I tend to confront the brutal facts while remaining cautiously optimistic we will get through this.