Extended Quarantine and Forced Savings Could Explode into Economic Boom, Says USD Professor Ryan Ratcliff

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A man riding his scooter waits at the traffic signal on the corner of Fifth Avenue and F Street,(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)A man riding his scooter waits at the traffic signal on the corner of Fifth Avenue and F Street,(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been San Diego’s worst economic shock since the Great Depression. Nearly 15 percent of San Diegans employed in February 2020 had lost their jobs by April — roughly the same job losses that we saw spread over two years of the 2009 financial crisis, compressed into just two months. While no sector or community was left unscathed, the economic impact of the virus has been spread very unevenly, with an outsized impact on poor communities and communities of color.

Over half of that initial job loss was concentrated in just three sectors: leisure and hospitality, retail, and non-COVID-19 health care like dentist offices. A census survey reported that Hispanic households in California were 17 percent more likely to experience job and income loss in 2020 than White and Asian households. Seventy-three percent of California households earning less than $35,000 a year experienced job loss, compared to only 32 percent of households earning $200,000 or more. Women with children left the labor force at substantially higher rates than other groups in 2020.

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So what should we expect from the rest of 2021...I expect we have a few more months of the same better-but-not-good that we’re feeling now. I do expect summer will see an increase in travel to San Diego, as vaccinated tourists try short, experimental trips — expect a lot of weekenders in Dodgers hats. And as we reach the tipping point on vaccinations in fall, much as a previous generation emerged from war and pandemic in 1920, we too may see 20 months of quarantine and forced savings explode into an economic boom — our generation’s Roaring Twenties.

The excerpt above was written by Associate Professor of Economics at the USD School of Business and published by the San Diego Union Tribune.

Contact:

Renata Ramirez
renataramirez@sandiego.edu
(619) 260-4658