As we move closer to the end of 2020, signs are beginning to point to an economic recovery in 2021 as COVID-19 vaccines are distributed across the world.
The Wall Street Journal reports that European businesses “were encouraged by the prospect of a widespread deployment of effective vaccines in 2021, and cut jobs at the slowest pace since the pandemic began.”
The composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for the European region came in at 49.8 in December, up from 45.3 in November. A number above 50 indicates economic growth, while a figure below 50 signals contraction. Considering the region bottomed out at a 13.6 PMI in April, the latest data is very encouraging.
Similar surveys for the U.S., Australia and Japan also point toward recoveries after significant PMI dips in the spring. In these regions as well as Europe, the manufacturing sector outpaced the services sector, which is a good reminder that economic recovery will look different for different companies and industries.
However, the key point here is that the global economy does seem to be recovering overall. As we look ahead at 2021, we don’t expect mobility activity to suddenly return all at once, but we do anticipate a gradual upswing in terms of move volume as the economy continues to improve and it becomes safer to travel. For mobility teams that pumped their breaks from March through the end of the year, now is a great time to plan for future relocations and assignments.
For more on mobility’s outlook in 2021 and beyond, check out our latest report: “What’s Next? Looking Toward the Future of Mobility After an Unbelievable Year.”
Eurozone business activity came close to stabilising in December, according to preliminary PMI data. Stronger manufacturing output growth, led by Germany, was accompanied by a marked slowing in the rate of decline of service sector activity. Encouragingly, future output expectations jumped to a 32-month high, as prospects brightened amid recent news on vaccine developments.