2020 will go down as ‘tragic year’ due to COVID-19 and social unrest

GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra thinks 2020 will go down as a year for the ages. But not for upbeat reasons by any stretch of the imagination.

“2020 will go down as a tragic year” because of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising social unrest, said GM (GM) Chairman and CEO Mary Barra during a virtual fireside chat with the Automotive Press Association. Barra was speaking ahead of GM’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday.

GM’s factories in North America restarted production on May 18. The company has implemented strict guidelines to prevent workers from getting infected with COVID-19. Some measures include the spacing out of shifts and requiring all personnel in the buildings to wear masks.

Despite the U.S. being in recession, GM had a better than reasonable first quarter.

First quarter earnings topped estimates by a surprising 32 cents on the back of demand for pickup trucks. The company said it’s seeing “green shoots” in China after re-opening for business. Executives have declined to provide full-year financial guidance owing to the lack of visibility into U.S. demand, however.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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