Rising Covid-19 Cases Threaten The U.S. Economic Recovery: Poll

The U.S. economic recovery is in jeopardy due to rising cases of Covid-19, according to a new poll of economists.

Nearly two thirds of 58 economists polled by Reuters news agency between October 16 and 26 said there is a "high risk" that the U.S. economic rebound could be halted by the surge in Covid-19 cases, including five who said the risk is "very high."

New virus infections have hit record levels in the United States recently, and the number of hospitalized Americans jumped to a two-month high, leading to further restrictions. In Europe, many countries have re-imposed measures to curb the disease’s spread.

One of the biggest economic worries coming from the pandemic is high unemployment. Over 80% of economists surveyed said the U.S. jobless rate would not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2023, at the earliest.

The wider poll showed that economists expect the U.S. jobless rate to average 8.3% this year, 6.8% in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022. The U.S. unemployment rate stood at 3.5% earlier this year before the pandemic hit.

For this year, the surveyed economists forecast that the world’s largest economy will shrink 4%,

The consensus for 2021 and 2022 is for 3.7% and 2.9% growth, respectively. Roughly two thirds of respondents said their forecasts are based on another round of fiscal stimulus from lawmakers in Washington, D.C. Of the economists who expect more economic stimulus from the U.S. government, the median amount is $1.8 trillion.