Forget a V-shaped recovery, or even a U

The prospect of large numbers of Americans returning to their workplaces seems to recede like a mirage; a full reopening remains invisibly far in the distance. Equally important, many pre-Covid-19 jobs won’t be around. They are gone, indefinitely if not for good.

Just a few examples:

Factories in states from Oregon to North Carolina are closing permanently. Many shuttered restaurants will never reopen. A growing number of bankruptcies, in industries ranging from retailing to entertainment, will mean more jobs lost forever. And chief executives tell me regularly that they are cutting capital expenditures, another drag on economic recovery and employment.