Forecasters surveyed by The Conference Board of Canada in the autumn have a slightly more optimistic view of the economy’s short-term prospects than they did in summer. Still, the situation remains bleak. Based on responses to the survey, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown of the economy in March and April will result in a 5.8 per cent decline in real GDP this year. That’s an improvement from the contraction of 6.6 per cent that forecasters were anticipating back in July. The economy is now expected to rebound and expand by 5.0 per cent in 2021, which is somewhat weaker than the 5.7 per cent growth projected in July.