How bad will the coronavirus economic hit be for New Jersey?
How much of an economic hit will we take from the novel coronavirus pandemic in New Jersey and across the nation?
“It is an unprecedented situation that we’re in, we have no track record,” Rutgers University economics professor James Hughes said last week.
Update: In the time since this article was published, Gov. Phil Murphy has announced sweeping closures of entertainment businesses, bans on dining in at restaurants and curfew for most other business.
He said the current coronavirus crisis may result in an extended period of time with several negative indicators, but some areas will be positive because this economic upheaval is unique, so predicting how much of an overall economic downturn we will have is basically impossible now.
“It really depends on how long the panic lasts," he said.
Over the weekend, U.S. stock futures fell sharply after the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates and more companies and governments took action to shut down European and American society in the face of the growing virus outbreak.
Stocks are set for more turbulence following a dizzying week that saw the Dow twice fall by more than 2,000 points and also record it's biggest point gain ever — 1,985 points on Friday. The bull market that began in 2009 in the depths of the financial crisis came to an end. Europe markets saw similar volatility.
Hughes noted one school of thought is this will be a V-shaped downturn.
“That is a very, very sharp drop, and then once the bottom is reached we’ll have a very, very quick bounce-back, so the trend-line would take the shape of a V," he explained.
The worry, however, is it will be more of a U-shaped trend-line.
“We have a steep drop, then it stays at the bottom for an extended period of time before it ultimately climbs back into an expansionary phase of the cycle.”
Hughes said the travel industry, and live-performance, sporting and entertainment venues are getting clobbered because they’ve all shut down.
“But some of that money is ultimately going to be directed elsewhere, and so consumers may now be over-consuming soaps, over-consuming toilet paper, paper towels," he said.
He also noted greater demand for home entertainment will probably also help certain industries.
“People may also probably be conservative in certain ways. If their cruise was canceled, they’re probably going to hold onto that money to see what happens before redirecting that spending.”
He said in the best case scenario, “the virus could taper off and we could be back to normal in ... multi-month period of time. It’s not going to be in the next several weeks.”
Material copyright 2020 by The Associated Press was used in this report.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com