It's a V. It's a Baa. It's a Swoosh
Bloomberg Businessweek|December 28 - January 04, 2021
From the prosaic to the poetic, economists vie to define the shape of the recovery
Catarina Saraiva, Michelle Jamrisko, and Piotr Skolimowski

Economists have run through the alphabet this year.

They’ve turned to letters and shapes in an effort to illustrate the unprecedented economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. The 2008-09 financial crisis had Ben Bernanke’s “green shoots” and angst about a “double-dip” recession. In 2020 we’ve heard about not only a V-, U-, L-, and K-shaped recovery, but also a Nike Swoosh and Cape Cod in winter. The econospeak has even cracked into the mainstream, showing up in presidential debates and in major media.

At the onset of the pandemic, many economists predicted a quick bounce back to normal activity following a sharp downturn triggered by the widespread closure of businesses and schools. Countries with relatively healthy economies going into the pandemic seemed best poised for the so-called V-shaped recovery. Some had their own spin on the V, such as former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who compared it to “Cape Cod in winter,” whereupon a tourism-fueled local economy shuts down in the frigid months to rebound when beach weather returns.

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