New 'Short Talks' Dives Into Lasting Effects of COVID-19 on Economy

Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the U of A.
Photo by University Relations

Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the U of A.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt far and wide since March and much of the focus has been on the economy at large.

From federal down to state, local and even rural levels, the coronavirus has taken a bite out of many communities’ economy. Mervin Jebaraj, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research on the University of Arkansas campus, says the larger economies at the state and national levels are expected to bounce back rather quickly.

However, those at the local and rural levels that may have already been struggling could take longer to return to pre-pandemic levels.

In this new episode of Short Talks From the Hill, a research podcast of the University of Arkansas, Jebaraj explains what he thinks it will take for those economies to rebound and why the pandemic has had a unique effect on the economy as a whole.

“I think when you think of any recession that we’ve had, at least in any recession that we’ve recorded statistics for, we never have a situation where we’ve asked certain sectors of the economy to completely shut down,” Jebaraj said. “In any typical recession, no matter how severe it was, we’ve never actually had to shut down retail operations like restaurants, bars, salons and gyms, and places like that.

“So this is very different in the sense that overnight some of the business in those particular sectors went to zero. On the other hand, you had some other sectors and retail, like grocery stores, where business skyrocketed in that brief period when the shutdown started in mid-March and sort of tapered off since then. But I think this is very unique in that sense,” he said. 

To listen to Jebaraj discuss further about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, go to ResearchFrontiers.uark.edu, the home of research news at the University of Arkansas, or visit the "On Air" and “Programs” link at KUAF.com.

Short Talks From the Hill highlights research and scholarly work at the University of Arkansas. Each segment features a university researcher discussing his or her work. Previous podcasts can be found under the ‘Short Talks From the Hill’ link at ResearchFrontiers.uark.edu.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

John Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations
479-575-7430, jfthomas@uark.edu

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