GM's Mary Barra sees 'relatively short-lived' coronavirus recession, with recovery by early 2021

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General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she sees a "relatively short-lived recession" due to the coronavirus pandemic with a recovery by early 2021 during an interview with The Associated Press published Sunday.

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"We are seeing a recovery," Barra said. "We think it's going to be a relatively short-lived recession. But we have a long way to go because we went to a pretty low base."

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"The new outbreaks do pose potential setbacks, but we're hopeful that the U.S. economy will be back to 90% of pre-pandemic levels early next year," she continued. "There's a lot of uncertainty."

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, attends the annual Allen and Co. Sun Valley media conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 12, 2019. (REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Barra took the helm at GM when the company was in the middle of a recall crisis. She has cut costs and streamlined management, closed factories and sold off money-losing operations in Europe, partly in preparation for the next downturn.

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GM had to eliminate the third shift at its Wentzville, Missouri, factory because there were not enough workers. Barra told the AP workers feel safe at GM factories.

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"At Wentzville, one of the things we do is screen," Barra said. "We are taking the precaution to say that you need to quarantine until we know that you don't have the virus. I've been at 10 plants since we started back up, and I'm continuing to go to plants. When I talk to people, they understand the protocol."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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