COVID-19 outbreak paints bleak picture on economy • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

COVID-19 outbreak paints bleak picture on economy

Before the COVID-19 crisis swept across the globe, the economy and financial markets were on a steady path.

That’s changed in recent days as the coronavirus outbreak has created public panic and moved the government, businesses and many organizations to take steps to slow the spread of the virus.

The Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute said, “a coronavirus recession is inevitable.” The institute believes the impact of the outbreak on the economy will cost 3 million jobs by summertime.

Economic forecasts reviewed by the institute expect the economy will show zero percent growth for the first quarter and a “minus five percent contraction expressed as an annualized rate” for the second quarter. The forecast implies the nation’s economy will shrink by 1.25% from January to June, the institute said.

News media have reported the government is scrambling to pass economic relief legislation that could provide financial and other assistance to people as the nation works through the crisis.

Indiana has enjoyed record-low unemployment for some time however, the state’s employment situation could change in the wake of the crisis. In its latest state employment report, the state said Indiana’s jobless rate for January was 3.1%. The last time the state’s jobless rate was lower than 3.1% was November 2000.

Indiana’s labor force in January had a net increase of 3,749 from December. This was a result of a decrease of 877 unemployed residents and an increase of 4,626 employed residents.

Indiana's total labor force, which includes both Hoosiers employed and those seeking employment, stood at 3.39 million, and the state’s 64.4% labor force participation rate in January was above the national rate of 63.4%, the state said. Private sector employment decreased by 1,300 over the year and grew by 8,400 from December.

The monthly increase is primarily due to gains in the trade, transportation and utilities (3,600); leisure and hospitality (3,200); and private educational and health services (2,600), the state said. Gains were partially offset by losses in manufacturing (-4,800). Total private employment stood at 2,741,900 in January.


  • Larry Avila

    Larry is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience working with daily newspapers and business-to-business publications around the Midwest. Avila is a Michigan native and a graduate of Central Michigan University.

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