DAVE ROSS

Will coronavirus set Seattle’s economy back decades?

Apr 5, 2020, 7:57 AM
coronavirus economy...
(AP)
(AP)

The economy is taking a potentially massive hit from the coronavirus outbreak, and job losses are soaring. To get a sense of the local impact, Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner joined Seattle’s Morning News.

So, what should we know about state unemployment figures?

“It’s following the direction of the nation, as you mentioned, and when we talk about unemployment, it’s actually initial unemployment claims. Those will come out weekly, and when we look at Washington state, obviously it jumped dramatically. Last week, it’s up to 192,000 new applications for unemployment,” Gardner said.

“From the start of this year, we were averaging somewhere between 5,000-8,000. Then the second week of March came along, and it doubled with 14,000, third week was 129,000. Companies can’t run, everyone’s gone home and a lot of people obviously were laid off or furloughed. Because of that, everyone’s filing unemployment. The federal mandate is going to increase people’s unemployment checks by another $600 per week for the next four months.”

Taking care of mental health, preventing suicides critical during pandemic

As Seattle’s Morning News anchor Dave Ross noted, we understand that they’re going to try to replace people’s wages, at least at the lower end of the scale, and add the $600 to make them whole. But is that enough?

“Well, if you look at it, and we ran the numbers, what it basically tells me is if somebody were making anything less than $39 an hour at work, with this program they’re making more money on unemployment than they would be working.”

How long can this go on before there is permanent damage, before it sends Seattle back to the 1970s?

“This whole situation was caused not by any exogenous economic shock. It was a bug. We shut things down, actually did it rather well here in Washington state. In fact, the belief is now we’ll hit a peak on new infections in about two weeks,” Gardner said.

WA Rep. Kilmer on what might be coming in next coronavirus aid package

“Given the fact that we had a remarkably tight economy and very tight labor market up until about three weeks ago — we had unemployment knocking around the mid 2% range — a lot of businesses do believe that they will reopen,” he said. “Obviously, the federal government’s helping them out through small business loans and these kinds of things to make sure they stay above water. But they believe, as I do, that when we start recovering, when we come out from under this scenario that we’re in today, they’re going to want to hire these people back.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

(Photo by Scott Graham/Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: The real secret to a happy workforce

When employees get asked ‘how can we make you feel appreciated’ they’ll say, well you know, donuts are great, but a little more money would be nice too.
3 days ago
“Homosexuality in America,” Life, 26 June 1964, pp. 66-80....
Dave Ross

Ross: How the suburbs guard ‘birds-and-the-bees’ chatter

I saw a copy of LIFE magazine on the living room coffee table that featured a two-page spread captioned “Homosexuality in America.”
4 days ago
(Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Have Seattleites gone soft on crime?

The Seattle Police Department recently came out with some advice on what to do if a burglar breaks in while you’re at home. The advice… is to get out, ASAP.
5 days ago
Governor Kevin Stitt (R-OK) speaks during a roundtable at the White House (Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Why Oklahoma’s stance on abortion will echo throughout the country

12 states have trigger laws that take effect if Roe v Wade is overturned – and Oklahoma is one of them.
6 days ago
Katie Wussler, a program coordinator at Mother & Child Education Center, checks the lot number on a...
Dave Ross

Ross: Baby formula shortage puts new mothers in difficult spot

I’m having trouble accepting that the US is dealing with a baby formula shortage – especially when the main advice is do NOT try to make your own.
9 days ago
(Unsplash)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Are vasectomies the best form of birth control?

A Tweet caught my attention because it was a sketch for a short story about a world where abortions aren’t necessary.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Will coronavirus set Seattle’s economy back decades?