Postponing the inevitable: A better-than-expected recovery in the third quarter of 2020 failed to entirely make up for the ground lost to the pandemic as the economy closed the year roughly 5% smaller than it would have otherwise. While the aggregate net worth of middle and wealthy class citizens continue to increase thanks to soaring financial markets, the future may be uncertain for millions of Americans. The lingering question of how long it will take for the U.S. economy to get fully back on track lingers in the air as November’s unemployment numbers reached their highest levels since 1983, and many relying on the recently passed unemployment benefits won’t see the increase for weeks. Bloomberg warns that housing activists still foresee a wave of evictions on the horizon despite the newly extended unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums.
Car shopping made easy: Car-buying is yet another process forever changed by the pandemic. Until recently, car-buying remained (often frustratingly) low tech and relied on lengthy in-person interactions until COVID-19 forced dealerships to move their inventory, test drives and even credit applications online. Now consumers can purchase a new vehicle and have it delivered to their driveway almost as easily as their groceries. More from Axios on how dealerships are providing a seamless “omnichannel” tech strategy and dramatically reducing transaction times.
A bright year ahead: The recent wave of big deals has many predicting that 2021 could be even more active for Canadian corporate mergers and acquisitions. Canada initially lagged the global recovery in M&A, but a new cycle of acquisitions has begun, reports The Globe and Mail, as companies seek strategic growth. The much anticipated rollout of the coronavirus vaccine coupled with low interest rates has injected optimism about the future of the economy.
Infrastructure woes: Most countries are looking to expand their infrastructure in the coming years. President Elect Biden has shared a $2trn plan to bolster American roads, power grids and railways while the European Union has just approved a budget dedicated towards digital and energy investments. The Economist points to low interest rates and economist enthusiasm for the investment in ways to keep up with digitisation and climate change. But infrastructure projects are notorious for time delays and run away budgets leaving local governments mired in debt. The Economist points to two universal lessons that should be considered before new projects are underway.