The economic development this year and next year is in the hands of health policy, said Wifo boss Christoph Badelt yesterday at the presentation of the forecast for 2021 and 2020 (see graphic).
For health policy, that means testing and vaccination, said Badelt. That could “not be so expensive that it would not be cheaper than an extension of the economic crisis,” said Badelt.
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Because it is currently outside the economy how the economy will develop in the next few months, this time Wifo has also calculated two forecast scenarios that see 2.3 percent or 1.5 percent real economic growth for this year, depending on whether there are openings there or, for example, four weeks of lockdown from April. The difference between the two scenarios corresponds to a GDP difference of three billion euros for the entire year, which is “a fully grown bull elephant” and “not just a baby elephant.”
Michael Reiter, who is responsible for the IHS forecast, said that an additional four-week lockdown in the spring would also reduce expectations for this year’s GDP growth, from the currently calculated 2.6 to 2.0 percent.
Because every additional week of lockdown would have an impact of 400 to 800 million euros or 0.1 to 0.2 percent on GDP. “The elephant continues to grow every week, depending on how well we feed it,” said the economist in a joint online press conference.
“Special Topic Labor Market”
Badelt described the situation on the labor market as a “special issue”. Even in the scenario of a rapid recovery, the labor market will remain affected by the pandemic for longer. That is why a comprehensive package is needed. Starting with prevention, ie education and training, up to the “unideological discussion” about employment programs.
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