Hopes Are High for a Full Economic Recovery in 2021

A new poll suggests nearly 1 in 2 people are ‘very optimistic’ that the U.S. will fully rebound from the COVID-19 downturn next year.

The COVID-19 pandemic roiled the U.S. economy in 2020, sparking a dramatic recession that sent the unemployment rate as high as 14.7% and spurred trillions in stimulus spending. But despite recent spikes in COVID-19 cases and no announcement on a vaccine, hopes are high that 2021 will bring about a full economic recovery.

In a recent poll by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, 46% of respondents said they are “very optimistic” that the U.S. economy will fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic next year. About 37% said they are “neither or neutral” about the possibility of a full recovery, while just 18% said they are “very pessimistic.” The poll was conducted on LinkedIn from Oct. 21 through Oct. 24 and garnered responses from more than 150 LinkedIn users.

The results of the poll are especially significant on the backdrop of the U.S. presidential race. “The pandemic has changed everything about this race. Everything,” said Dan Clifton, Washington policy analyst and Head of Policy Research at institutional brokerage Strategas Research Partners, in a recent webcast with BNY Mellon.

Because of the pandemic, more than a third of registered voters are expected to vote by mail-in ballot this year. Given the varying rules that states have about when they tally their votes, it’s possible that a victory on Election Day may fade in the days following as more votes are counted. But the pandemic is also a key factor shaping the outcome of the election itself. Indeed, data shows that rates of positive COVID-19 tests are not only directly correlated with the percentage of swing state voters who are worried about COVID-19, but also directly correlated with the odds of Democratic candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden winning the election.

With much at stake, the presidential candidates continue to take divergent approaches to the ongoing pandemic and the timing of a vaccine. In their final debate on Oct. 2, President Trump reiterated that a vaccine is “going to be announced within weeks” and that the military is getting ready to distribute it. Biden was less optimistic, saying he predicts a “dark winter” ahead.

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