The head of the country’s largest bank reiterated his recent optimism that the economy is on the verge of emerging from the pandemic on fire, with growth that could extend until 2023. Mr Dimon said these recent weeks that the massive revival of the government, the widespread deployment of vaccines and the actions of its corporate clients and consumers have led it to believe in a possible “Goldilocks” economy of rapid growth associated with slight inflation.
Quantifying some of Mr Dimon’s optimism, JPMorgan now expects U.S. gross domestic product to fully recover this quarter from the pandemic decline, much earlier than expected, according to a statement on Tuesday. The bank now expects second-quarter GDP to be 0.2% higher than it was at the end of 2019, compared to its earlier forecast of a 1.9% decline. Expected growth over the next 12 months is now double what the bank expected three months ago, rising to 4.3% in the second quarter of 2022.
Still, Mr Dimon pointed to signs that leave him uncertain about the longevity and impact of this boom. Small businesses and low-income workers have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic, he said. Inflation will likely increase. The stock market is valued at all-time highs, with pockets of excess.
Mr Dimon also said government spending aimed at stimulating economic growth will fall flat if not well designed, with measurable results. For example, a road plan should detail how many kilometers to build, at what cost and when, he said. Providing free community college courses won’t work if schools aren’t measured by graduation and placement rates.
“Our government, when it points out the problems we should be doing better, it is right,” Dimon said. “But if we just throw in a lot of money and everything is wasted again… we’re in big trouble.”
Government regulations, he added, have slowed growth over the years for small businesses and others.
“The vibrant nation has become the nation of red tape,” he said.
Mr. Dimon is often asked if his interest in politics and running governments would lead him to run for office, a notion he has rejected over the years. On Tuesday, he said he hopes to change the way government spending plans are discussed publicly.
As the pandemic emerges, Mr Dimon is eager to see more signs of normalcy. Other JPMorgan employees will return to the office starting this month, though Dimon admitted not all of them were happy with it. But the remote office, he said, doesn’t work to generate ideas, preserve corporate culture, compete for customers or “for those who want to push each other”.
“We want people to come back to work and my take is that in September, October, it will look exactly like it was before,” Mr. Dimon said. “Yes, people don’t like to commute, but so what?”
For Mr. Dimon, it is better to commute than the alternative.
“I’m about to cancel all of my Zoom meetings,” he added. ” I’m done with it. “
Write to David Benoit at [email protected]
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