Recliners and tires are among the first American products that will begin rolling off production lines in the week ahead after the COVID-19 forced shutdowns.
La-Z-Boy and Cooper Tire said they would restart factories in the U.S. while following employee safety protocols and public health guidelines.
The restarting of parts of the American economy shutdown or severely curtailed to fight the spread of COVID-19 may be underway. But a robust return may be premature according to public health data.
The virus modeling from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has become standard in this crisis for predicting peak infections and the demand for hospital beds, ICUs and ventilators. It projects only five states will be in a position to begin relaxing social distancing measures by the first full week of May: Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Vermont and West Virginia.
Many state restrictions on activity are due to expire before that though. Stay-at-home orders and closings of non-essential businesses have been scheduled to be lifted Thursday or Friday in about half of the states. Some will be extended. Some will be modified.
Investors are paying close attention to these decisions. The stock market bounce from its COVID-19 low rests on the economic help provided by the Federal Reserve and federal government as much as it rests on confidence economic activity will return soon and the virus can be held in check.
An American economy in recline to fight the spread of the virus is appropriate. Getting the economy safely rolling again is important, too.
Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts “The Sunshine Economy” on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of “Nightly Business Report” on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.