Since we’re all cautiously emerging from sanctuary, the former title of my articles, written while I was housebound – Notes from the Trenches, – no longer applies. Therefore, I’ve chosen a new heading, as you will observe above. It still captures a certain wariness on my part.
- The pandemic is upending previous notions about what is needed to deliver successful versus questionable business results. Take ‘word processing’ versus ‘meat processing’. The latter has seen numerous plant shutdowns due to congestion in the workplace and virus contagion. The former, in at least one special way, has been delivering spectacular results.
- For a decade or more, news media operations have come under attack for not moving quickly enough to embrace new technology. Stodgy print media has been a favorite target. Firms in the sector were moving online, although often tentatively. The difficulty for many in the industry was to find a digital business model that would be financially rewarding. Most have now settled on their own vision of the optimal balance between subscription and advertising revenues. And the process has evolved to just the right stage. Media companies, unlike many other enterprises in the economy, have been able to carry on with operations even under coronavirus duress. For media companies, working from home has been a relatively easy transition, having minimal impact on the compilation and dissemination of information.
- Prior to Wednesday May 6th, the New York subway system, in its 115-year history, had never been shut down overnight. It’s being deliberately idled now, though, every day in the early morning hours for sanitizing to keep the coronavirus at bay. One might suppose that N.Y.’s underground is the biggest, by passenger count, in the world. A check on the Internet, however, reveals that it’s in sixth position, behind Tokyo, Moscow, Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing. As for other U.S. transit systems, the city with the second largest ridership, although only one-tenth the size of the Big Apple’s, is Washington, D.C.
- There was a surge of immigration in Canada, and especially the province of B.C., from Hong Kong before mid-1997 when the then ‘crown colony’ was handed over by the British government to the Chinese. It will be interesting to see if a threatened crackdown on freedoms in the city (technically a ‘special administrative region’ of China) by Beijing will prompt another similar exodus and search for a ‘harbor’, and whether Ottawa ‒ given its present stand against foreign arrivals on health grounds, ‒ will lay out a welcome mat. (On several other fronts, Canadian-Chinese relations have been contentious of late.)
Read the previous article here: The Economy under COVID-19: Notes from my New Hiding Place – Within the Herd (May 29, 2020).
Alex Carrick is Chief Economist for ConstructConnect. He has delivered presentations throughout North America on the U.S., Canadian and world construction outlooks. Mr. Carrick has been with the company since 1985. Links to his numerous articles are featured on Twitter @ConstructConnx, which has 50,000 followers.