Virus fear hampers shoppers, business owners: Winters

July 9, 2020
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Dr. John Winters, Seung Jin Cho, Jun Yeong LeeFear of the resurgence of  COVID-19 is likely discouraging shopping and business openings according to John Winters, associate professor, interviewed in a July 9, 2020 Des Moines Register story, "Economists warn of slowing recovery as new Iowa unemployment claims increase."

Some people are worried they will contract the virus. Others are simply worried that country's economy will be worse in coming months.

Winters said consumer behavior has been relatively consistent across states, even as governors issued varying levels of restrictions. People have turned to the latest outbreak data instead of government rules to determine whether to leave their homes.

"The bigger issue is not the government restrictions," Winters said. "The bigger issue is the infections. They don’t want to get sick. They recognize sickness in others is bad for the economy. So they save their money." 

Winters is an author of a new Iowa State study, "Employment Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic across Metropolitan Status and Size” along with Seung Jin Cho and Jun Yeong Lee, both Ph.D. students in Iowa State’s Department of Economics.


Dr. John WintersWinters was also interviewed for a July 9 KCCI TV story, "Expert says businesses dont' have economic confidence to recover from COVID-19 impact."

"Part of the reason there is not a lot of economic confidence is that we just don't know what's going on with the pandemic. We don't know what's going on with the economy, so it's hard for firms to invest and it's hard for people to go out and look for jobs and spend money," said John Winters, an ISU economics professor.


Winters' earlier research, "What You Make Depends on Where You Live: College Earnings Across States and Metropolitan Areas," was cited in his June 14, 2020 interview for the AJC.com story, "New study: In Georgia, college degree really pays off."

Winters examined earning levels in all 50 states and Washington and in more than 100 metropolitan areas, finding bachelor’s degree holders overall make 55% more than workers with associate’s degrees and 85% more than workers with high school diplomas.

In every state, bachelor’s degree holders strongly out-earn workers with associate’s degrees, with a more than 25% earnings advantage in all but three states: North Dakota, Alaska, and Vermont.

“I am a numbers guy and love spreadsheets,” he said. “The typical 17- and 18-year-old is not as inclined toward spread sheets. So, higher education ought to reach out to young people where they are at, maybe with well-produced short TikTok videos to help them understand more about job opportunities, career paths and earning potential.”

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