AKRON—Bill Wood decided to get the suspense out of the way early on in his talk about the economy—with a caveat.
"My outlook for the U.S. economy moving forward for the next four to six quarters is for a continuation of a mostly V-shaped recovery. That's right, a V-shaped recovery," the economist said during a presentation during the International Tire Exhibition & Conference.
Held virtually this year and sponsored by Rubber & Plastics News, Wood's ITEC talk provided some big picture perspective as well as some specific insights about the tire business.
"It's about the idea of probability. None of this stuff is guaranteed," said the founder of Mountaintop Economics & Research Inc. of Greenfield, Mass.
"As far as the U.S. economy is concerned, I think we'll be back up to full recovery in mostly every sector by the end of next year. Some sectors are already fully recovered and experiencing growth," Wood said. "Some sectors are dramatically behind and still lagging. So the overall aggregate demand, if we measure it that way, dropped about 35 percent in the second quarter. In the third quarter, it looks like it's going to be up 15 to 20 percent. So we're not going to get it all back in the third quarter. We're not going to get it all back in the fourth quarter.
"Consumer spending will still be down 4 to 6 percent, say 5 percent for this year. But then as 2021 unfolds, things will get back to where they were on a broad base," he said.
Wood said there are a handful of trends that are impacting how the economy recovers these days.
The first is obvious.
COVID-19 and how the pandemic continues to play out will be a factor in how the economy performs. The potential for another round of stimulus money from the federal government also will have an impact, he said.
During his presentation, Wood said he believes there will be another stimulus, and a substantial one at that.
"First of all, I don't think they are going to let us have an election without having a stimulus package," he said. "Second, it's going to be tied to this concept of inequality.