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Pandemic Puts U.S. In A Recession

A 'Closed' sign hanging on the door of a business.
Evan Wise

The National Bureau of Economic Research announced Monday that the U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February. 

The bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee, the official arbiter of U.S. recessions, said economic expansion peaked in February after a record 128 months, before an abrupt and unusual contraction.

"The committee recognizes that the pandemic and the public health response have resulted in a downturn with different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions," it said. "Nonetheless, it concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions."

The long-term effects of the recession are likely to play out differently in cities versus rural areas, according to Sankar Mukhopadhyay, an economics professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. 

While cities have generally been harder hit by the coronavirus, "when the threat of the virus goes away, cities will figure out how to come back," Mukhopadhyay said. "Even with lower infection rates, there might be more burden on rural areas compared to cities." 

The longer the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, Mukhopadhyay added, the longer lasting the economic effects will be. 

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

Amanda Peacher
Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.
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