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A CO.VI.D.-19 Recession is Imminent, Inevitable, and Impossible to Gauge

A few months ago, I wrote an article forecasting the next recession. Of all the things to spark the next economic downturn, though, I honestly did not expect a global pandemic to be one of them. Unfortunately for us, this outbreak likely will start a recession; how bad it will be is the only remaining question on economists’ minds.

The tragic deaths of thousands and the disruptions to daily life around the world are terrible enough, but now the CO.VI.D.-19 coronavirus is threatening the state of our economy—including millions of people's jobs and livelihoods. The fact that coronavirus is starting a downturn is widely accepted by now. The traditional measure of a recession is two quarters of consecutive negative G.D.P. growth, and forecasters across the spectrum see that scenario playing out. CNBC contributor James Pethokoukis reports that JP Morgan is forecasting negative G.D.P. growth of negative two percent in the first quarter and negative three percent in the second quarter this year. He also reports Barclays predicts negative growth through the second and possibly third quarter depending on the government respo