October 27, 2020
With the United States apparently entering a new surge of COVID-19 cases, the prospects and timing of when consumers will embrace an economic recovery are likely to get a lot more muddled. While there have been pockets of strength like the surge in online shopping, the number of people and indicators still in distress is cause for concern. MerchantE Chief Financial Officer Shimon Steinmetz told Karen Webster in a recent conversation that to him, the tea leaves look mixed.
“If Airbnb refiles their IPO, which was expected right before the pandemic, that is a strong sign of a V-shaped recovery for most of America,” Steinmetz said. “There are still 20 million people without jobs, but [if that happens], that's a strong sign of a tea leaf.”
Likewise, Steinmetz is also looking at things like generally good U.S. housing starts, home sales and mortgage applications as proof that consumers are gaining the confidence needed to restore a sense of normalcy.
“When you see a new high in home sales and people making the biggest investment of their lives by signing a 30-year mortgage, there's a mental switch that went off in their head that it’s time to move forward,” he said.
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