A Few Thoughts on Week 7

This posts seemed to wander in to broader economic challenges.

  • One of the things that I was thinking about this week now that there is a road map to reopen the economy is the fate of the auto industry in Windsor. As I mentioned in my New Years 10 Things to Watch post, Unifor and the Big 3 in Canada will be negotiating their collective agreements this summer before their September expiry.
    • Last year, the UAW got significant concessions out of the Big 3 with new product, wage improvements and other guarantees at a time when the economy was as strong as it had been in a decade. Obviously circumstances have changed.
    • Although a full bailout doesn’t seem likely the auto industry is lobbying for government support in the US.
    • There hasn’t been any clarity on the layoffs that were supposed to take effect at the end of June at WAP. It’s possible that an extension could occur as the last few months of orders haven’t been met.
    • For me, the question becomes what are the expectations that the Union, Corporation and Community setting for themselves is hugely important.
    • Hopefully everything goes well but the world has already been turned on its head.
  • You can find my Digital Jane’s Walk on their Facebook Page. The last 3-4 minutes of the video did get cut off, so there will be a blog post mid-week summing up the walk and some concluding thoughts about the field across from Marlborough school.
  • Mike Moffatt (as per usual) has broken down some the economic data that is emerging about this recession (yes we are in a recession). The to long didn’t read version is this:
    • If you are advocating money for infrastructure you are asking for the wrong thing. Women and services have been dis-proportionally impacted by this recession (unlike 2008 when men and construction/manufacturing where hit). Support for small business, tourism, restaurants and services are needed not new lecture halls at universities or extra money for road projects.
    • Alex Usher (leading Canadian researcher on Post-Secondary Institutions put forward similar arguments in this twitter thread.
  • National companies are starting to thing about future will look like as we will not be returning to “normal” post-COVID.
    • Rural and suburban foot prints in the financial and other skilled services sectors could shift.
    • Plexi-glass barriers have gone up at stores, will they come down after the Crisis? In Europe barriers between customer and cashier have been there for years.
    • The idea of a “Windsor Amazon” certainly could shift the local retail environment. Given they charge a 25% flat fee on all transactions, it will be interesting to see how busy they come or whether those costs just get passed onto consumers.
      • Online delivery models do have their challenges for other businesses that customers don’t often see or think about.
  • We seem to be hovering around 8-12 new cases per day for almost a week, which is very good!
  • So the curve is certainly flatted with the biggest unknown being the outstanding testing backlog.
  • This data on the CD Howe COVID-19 Economic Impacts Dashboard is really interesting. Of particular interest in data from Apple and Google on searches in major cities.

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