DETROIT — The forecasts seem impossibly wretched.
Economists at JPMorgan Chase project a 40 percent decline in gross domestic product in the second quarter. Trillions of dollars in economic activity abandoned in the wake of COVID-19. April’s unemployment rate is expected to hit 20 percent or more. That’s 25 million people without work. More than 817,000 filed for unemployment in Michigan in the last three weeks — and that’s only those who could access the online system here in the epicenter of the U.S. auto industry.
The numbers are all far, far worse than we saw in the Great Recession. But there is reason to think the bounce back might also dwarf the long, slow recovery from the 2008 crisis.
The National Automobile Dealers Association’s first-quarter sales analysis reported a 38 percent fall in new-vehicle sales last month compared with March 2019.
Second-quarter new-vehicle retail sales are expected to fall 80 percent in April and 40 to 70 percent in May, according to J.D….