SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – COVID-19 is causing shutdowns throughout the country and the United States is experiencing historically high of unemployment numbers.
A record 6.6 million Americans sought unemployment benefits last week. And of that number, nearly 30,000 are Utahns.
“We certainly have seen a historic volume during the last two weeks. We have seen almost the same number of claims filed than we did in all of 2019,” said Kevin Burt, an unemployment insurance division director.
As COVID-19 continues to impact the nation, many states are shutting down non-essential businesses in hopes to contain and mitigate the respiratory virus.
But with shutdowns, comes unemployment and an economic downfall that economic experts say is concerning.
“We’re certainly in a difficult time right now in the economy. And If you look at the stock market and what’s happened and the job situation,” said Val Hale, the executive director of the Governor’s Officer of Economic Development (GOED). “And so, I think it’s safe to say, we’re not in a good place right now and some people may go as far as to call that a recession.”
“Given the size of the unemployment and the implied shut down of businesses, I think we are in for a substantial period of negative income,” said Stephen Bannister PH.D, a U of U Department of Economics’ associate professor.
While Utah – and the nation’s – economy is uncertain right now, Hale and Bannister said prior to COVID-19’s economic hit, Utah was in a stable situation, which may help in the recovery process.
“Even with our strong economy going in, we’re going to experience a recession. I don’t see how you can avoid it,” Bannister said.
“It may last a year for us to fully get back, but I think most people anticipate that once we get through this, that the economy is in a good spot to bounce back,” Hale said. “So, we may not be looking at prolonged misery like we did during 2008, 9, 10.”
Hale and Bannister both said to help the economy stay afloat, you can help by spending money at industries being hit hard during this time.