Jamie Dimon said that American companies will start bringing back employees who are working remotely by June at the earliest.
The JPMorgan Chase CEO said that the business world's return to normalcy will occur in phases and be determined by the conditions in regions and at specific companies. Many businesses have sent employees home or furloughed them amid shutdowns tied to the coronavirus pandemic.
"A rational plan to get back to work is a good thing to do, and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later," Dimon said Tuesday on a conference call with analysts. "But it won't be May. We're talking about June, July, August, something like that."
Businesses from JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, to automakers and retailers are pondering how to balance the desire to jump-start the economy with the need to protect employees' health. While Dimon's forecast is later than that of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who told CNBC's Jim Cramer that the economy could reopen in May, Dimon echoed many of the arguments made by the administration on the subject.
"We shouldn't think of it as a binary thing that after the CDC [gives approval] and we all get instructions from the government, after there's enough capacity in the hospitals, after there's proper amount of testing," only then will people return to work, he said. "Remember, a lot of people are going to work today in farms, factories, food production, retail, pharmacies, hospitals – it isn't like no one is going to work."
He added that by the time companies are given the green light to return employees to work sites, there will hopefully be enough capacity in hospitals so "you're not worried that you can't get every American who does get sick the best possible medical advice."
"The turn-on will be regional and by company, all following standards and best health practices," Dimon said. "And in some ways, you need to get that done because the bad economy has very adverse consequences way beyond just the economy in terms of mental health, domestic abuse, substance abuse, etc."