Source: REBusiness Online

The U.S. economy’s exit from the COVID-19 pandemic will mirror the flight path of a butterfly, according to economist Dr. Peter Linneman. In other words, it will move forward but also up, down and sideways — quite erratic and not terribly fast.

Linneman’s comments came during a “Walker Webcast” hosted by Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The butterfly stage will continue until enough people get vaccinated where Americans feel safe resuming pre-pandemic activities, argued Linneman. Once that occurs, we’ll enter the flight path of a more steady “migratory bird.” Linneman’s best guess for that timeline is June or July of this year.

In order to gauge the economy’s progress, it’s best to monitor GDP growth and employment, not corporate profits or the stock market, said Linneman.

In Linneman’s view, 15 percent of businesses and citizens are “really struggling” and will need continued relief and roughly six more months to get their footing. A stimulus focused on that 15 percent segment — including hotel, airline and restaurant workers — is needed, according to Linneman.

“It’s not about spending; it’s about targeting,” he said.

If the U.S. government can effectively target that 15 percent with stimulus relief, then the result will be “productive spending.”

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