"Consumer spending will still be down 4% to 6%, say 5% for this year, but, then, as 2021 unfolds, things will get back to where they were on a broad base," he said.
Mr. Wood said there are a handful of trends that are impacting how the economy recovers these days.
The first is obvious.
COVID-19 and how the pandemic continues to play out will be a factor in how the economy performs. The potential for another round of stimulus from the federal government also will have an impact, he said.
Mr. Wood, during his presentation, said he believes there will be another round of stimulus money, a substantial one at that.
"First of all, I don't think they are going to let us have an election without having a stimulus packaging," he said. "Second, it's going to be tied to this concept of inequality.
"Lower income households, minority households, the statistics show these were very hard hit by the recent downturn. So there is going to be a strong impetus on members of Congress to get something done before the election," he said.
Diminished trade and deglobalization also will stick around and continue to make its mark on the economy, Mr. Wood said.
Online sales have been up substantially as fewer people travel out of their homes to shop due to fears about the virus. That trend, including automobile parts, accessories and tires, will continue.
Retail sales, meanwhile, have recovered and are no longer in a recession, he said. Those retail sales are now higher per month than they were during the same period a year ago before COVID-19, Wood said. Tire sales have rebounded over the summer as the economy reopens, including a 10% jump for the month of July compared with 2019.
Traditional locations to purchase tires are doing well, Mr. Wood said.
"And my forecast is that that will continue," he said, and moderate over time.
Growth will not be at that 10% rate when factoring in a full year of data, "but it will get back up to normal rates of growth in the coming year," he said.
While there certainly was some pent-up demand for replacement tires as many more people stayed home during the early months of the pandemic, there also is the general trend of people driving less.
With many schools and employers continuing their work-from-home approach, people are not putting as many miles on their vehicles these days for those trips. On the positive side, vacation travel by automobile has been up this year and delivery vehicles also are putting on more miles.
This overall trend of less driving will impact tire sales, but Mr. Wood said he does not believe those sales will not be impacted as severely as the actual percentage decrease in miles driven.
Working as an economist during COVID-19, he said, has been a bit of a humbling experience and has caused him to approach his job differently after decades in the business.
"I am far from certain about any of this," he said. "I have a new motto: 'Less certainty, more inquiry.'"
Sponsored by Rubber & Plastics News — a sister publication of Tire Business — ITEC is held biennially in Akron.