Local economic impacts from COVID-19


TRI-STATE (WEHT) – America’s economic comeback may take a while – as more and more coronavirus cases are reported. The United States has surpassed more than 150,000 deaths from the virus.

The nation’s economy is seeing its worst drop on record, contracting by nearly 33%  percent from April to June. Unemployment claims are also rising and there’s growing worry about what the future may hold.

“The things that you saw recently that 35 percent, what we saw was the worst quarter ever in the history of the United States, the reality is that yes, we kind of knew that was going to be happening but what we still don’t know is some of the numbers,” said Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana. “In this particular case April to June and we had a horrible June, but we started seeing signs of the economy coming back around at the end of May and into June.”

It’s that ongoing recovery being assisted by federal money going back to the state and helping small businesses in some ways. Wathen said the city of Evansville along with his organization is also trying to help. Some local grants specifically for small businesses are available but with some strings attached.

Wathen said the the EDC is partnering with financial institutions to provide low interest loans of 1% for struggling small businesses.

With ups and downs in the stock market, a reminder from financial experts to remain calm amid troubled times.

“Whenever you’re investing, these downturns and these pull backs are to be expected,” explained Andy Sutton, an associate financial advisor for Guidewise Financial Group. “Whether it’s because of technology or a housing market crisis or a global pandemic, this is something where you want to make sure you are working with a trusted advisor.”

But not everyone is feeling the pain of the economic downturn. Wathen said some bigger companies such as local manufacturing are actually seeing an increase in profits as more people shop online.

“I think for the larger businesses in our market, particularly those who have been so heavily skewed towards manufacturing, many of those are coming back,” he said. “It is really based a great deal on demand.”

At the end of the day experts say it boils down to one thing.

“It’s keeping your long term focus in check,” Sutton said.

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(This story was originally published on July 31, 2020)

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