The COVID-19 recession brought to the fore some very unusual and puzzling patterns between different macroeconomic aggregates, with supply side bottlenecks and shortages, record consumer inflation and the unusual coexistence of an unusually tight labour market altogether with record labor slack. The COVID recession itself lasted only two months according to the NBER’s Business Cycle Dating Committee. The fiscal and monetary response to the pandemic has corrected some of its most dire human and economic consequences but it has also led to new imbalances and it has magnified some of the imbalances that existed prior to the pandemic. The combined impact of all these imbalances, direct and indirect effects of the pandemic on supply and demand have shaped a very peculiar COVID-19 related business cycle, giving rise to what one might call “the COVID-19 conundrum”.
In order to contain the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, most European countries have implemented new lock-downs starting from Mid-October. As the Chart of the Week with data extracted from Google Mobility shows, the new “soft lockdowns” were overall significantly softer than the “hard lockdowns” implemented to contain the first wave of the pandemic, earlier this year in […]