indicatorThe Owl

The top economic stories of 2020 part 5 of 5

There is good reason to hope that a successful vaccination roll-out will put COVID in the rearview mirror before the end of next year

By ATB Economics 16 December 2020 2 min read

Please note that this is the last Owl of 2020. The Owl will return on Monday, January 4, 2021. Happy Holidays from The Owl team!

It’s that time of the year when we take a look back—from an Alberta perspective—at the top economic stories that took place over the previous 12 months. Each Owl this week will examine one story.

The full list, along with other observations about the year that was, are discussed in the latest edition of ATB’s The Future Of podcast hosted by our Chief Economist Todd Hirsch. The year-end edition can be found here and features commentary from energy guru Jackie Forrest.

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After a sluggish 2019, it was hoped that Alberta’s economy would pick up steam in 2020.

Then COVID happened.

The negative economic effects of the pandemic were initially underestimated. COVID-19 was seen by many as a short-term disruption that would be over almost as soon as it began. If only.

Once it was clear the pandemic would be with us for some time, the negative economic effects were overestimated with talk of another Great Depression making headlines.

The economic pain is plenty bad enough, but between government spending, public health measures, working from home (for those who can) and the underlying resiliency of our economic system, we have managed to avoid economic collapse.

In what is surely one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time in terms of the speed at which it has happened, we now have what appear to be several effective COVID-19 vaccines that—if things go as expected—will put an end to the pandemic.

The question now is how long will this take?

It would be fantastic if the pandemic would disappear along with 2020 when clocks strike midnight on January 1. Unfortunately, even the most optimistic estimates suggest that it will take months before the herd immunity needed for things to get back to normal is achieved.

In the meantime, it is hoped that the vaccination of high risk groups will take some of the pressure off the health system and bring down the mortality rate.

When our economy and economies around the world will be free from the dampening effects of the pandemic is beyond the ken of The Owl team, but there is good reason to hope that a successful vaccination roll-out will put COVID in the rearview mirror before the end of next year.

ANSWER to Thursday’s trivia question: What percentage of Alberta’s total international merchandise exports went to the United States last year? 88 per cent ($104 billion)

The daily trivia question will return along with The Owl on January 4, 2021.

The pandemic has had a powerful impact on economies around the world

The pandemic has had a powerful impact on economies around the world


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