Economist: Jobs report good now but could be far worse next time


MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State University economist Michael Hicks said for the second month in a row, the United States economy created a large number of new jobs, but the effects of coronavirus outbreak might shut down factories and affect the American workforce in the months to come.

“The February jobs report was a good piece of news, reflecting not only job gains of 273,000 in February but large upward revisions for January and December,” said Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. “Of the 273,000 jobs, a full 45,000 were in government, reflecting large gains in education, and early hiring for the March Census count. Construction was a very good February, with 42,000 jobs, and manufacturing grew by 15,000.

“Sadly, these job numbers are sure to be eclipsed by response to the spread of the coronavirus. The supply shocks from quarantined factories in Asia are weeks away from idling American, Canadian and European factories, and the demand-side impact on tourism, travel, eating and drinking establishments is already being felt across the world. The March jobs report, will be far less optimistic.”