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UM economist predicts two years for economic recovery

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (1) – 5/15/20

According to University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research Director Dr. Patrick Barkey, new analysis of Montana’s economy shows it may take up to two years to see numbers return to pre-coronavirus benchmarks, reports the Missoula Current. Barkey also notes his team anticipates a whopping 75,000 out of 650,000 loss in jobs for 2020, up from a 50,000 prediction just one month ago—in other words, more than 11.5 percent of the entire working population will lose their job this year alone. “… what we’re trying to say is that we’re facing a very significant economic challenge. Montana is not going to be spared,” Barkey said at Big Sky Economic Development’s Economic Response and Recovery Team on May 14. “Neither will Billings or any other part of the state of Montana be spared the hardship of this downturn.” Those predictions could undershoot the actual toll of Covid-19 in Montana, he added. “Do I think things will be worse than what we said? They could be … But a 10 percent employment decline, 11 percent personal income decline, those are pretty nasty projections. It’s a realistic assessment of where we are now.”

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