Memphis economist says businesses could be lost, unemployment may triple in ‘Coronavirus Depression’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The coronavirus pandemic is creating economic pandemonium, with businesses closing and jobs being cut. A Memphis economist is even calling it “the Coronavirus Depression.”

Downtown Memphis, once busy and bustling, is now a ghost town. People forced to stay home means no business for businesses.

“Just like the Great Depression, except maybe even worse before it is all said and done,” said University of Memphis economist John Gnuschke.

It’s worse, he said, because we are just getting started, and already the impact has been tremendous.

“Some businesses will be lost unfortunately. But many, many, and a large share of them will come back in some form,” Gnuschke said.

Then there are the restaurants, which Gnuschke says tend to be marginally profitable anyway. Any set back can cause them to have devastating losses.

“We know that anything associated with tourism, travel, eating out, shopping, any of those sectors are gonna see devastating losses.”

With record job losses, Gnuscke says it’s going to be crucial for anyone who even thinks they are eligible to file for unemployment benefits.

“There were like 17,000 new unemployment claims out of Memphis in the last two weeks. That’s probably going to explode double or triple that,” Gnuschke said. “As we move further into this, I call it a ‘Coronavirus Depression.’”

He says the recovery is going to take a long time.

“The numbers are gonna look bad for an extended period of time and that all depends on how quickly we can get a handle on the coronavirus,” he said.

Here is what you can do:

  • File for unemployment
  • Don’t spend your stimulus check before it’s in hand
  • If you are a small businesses, apply for a Small Business Loan
  • Plan for the future when the economy does come back.

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