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Business expert cautions against making general assessments about COVID-19’s economic impact

Indiana University
18-Mar-2020 4:05 PM EDT, by Indiana University

Retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters have announced they will temporarily shutter stores and car maker Honda will close six U.S. plants for a week. Earlier, in-person service at restaurants and bars was ceased. R. Andrew Butters, assistant professor of business economics and public policy at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, cautions against making general assessments about COVID-19’s economic impact across the country.

"In sectors like airline travel and hotels, net bookings are down across the board -- and at unprecedented levels," Butters said. "How long travelers stay at home will have a lasting impact on the distribution of foregone revenues experienced at restaurants, bars, and hotels across the country.

"An empty seat, or hotel room, contributes zero to GDP. This is especially true in a country like the US, as the demands for air travel and lodging vary across different parts of the country. Some areas of the country with peaks in demand over the spring months (e.g. Arizona and Florida) are likely to be especially vulnerable. Other areas with peaks in travel and recreational demand later in the year, (e.g., some areas of New York and Minnesota) might be less impacted, if the health concerns of travel are mitigated over the next couple of months."




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