MUNCIE, Ind.–Some jobs will be gone permanently. Some people will never go back to the office. Because of coronavirus some changes will stay with us, says Ball State University Economist Mike Hicks.
“A lot of who thought that working from home would be painful or either difficult to achieve the productivity gains that we might, maybe that works,” said Hicks. “Maybe every home has an office broadcast and computers screens and Zoom. Maybe we invest a lot more in broadband, and so maybe we find that easier.”
Hicks said some of the jobs that have gone away because of the pandemic won’t be back.
“There’s a shift in household spending,” he said. Hicks believes people may end up with a permanent mindset change in how they spend their money, eating out less, staying in more, even when we can go out again.
“We may see construction and manufacturing going towards producing more of the things we’re gonna consume at home if we’re not traveling around.”
Hicks said some people will be able to go back to work easier than others, like people in construction and manufacturing. He said as America produces more protective equipment, those people can get back into the work place safely.
“There’s no protective gear that’s gonna make you go to a bar or a restaurant or Disney,” he said. “Those sorts of elements of the economy are gonna be in limbo until it’s safe to go outside because of immunity or vaccines or some sort of treatment that renders this disease benign.”
“If we had the disease under control, we’d have an economy recovering fairly briskly,” said Hicks.
He said that if you’ve notice the markets going up and down and then back up again, it will likely stabilize a great deal when the government figures out how to effectively deal with the virus. Hicks said there haven’t been any days in the past couple of weeks when the markets tanked, so that’s a good sign. But, the markets are highly unpredictable at this point.
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