Dr. Thomas Duncan: Economy Tips During COVID-19

3 min read Dr. Thomas Duncan, an Associate Professor of Economics at Radford University discusses the economy and tips for students during COVID-19.

Portrait

Photo Credit: (Dr. Thomas Duncan) Faculty advisor of the year 2017-2018.

729 views

By Wesley Wallace | wwallace5@radford.edu

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread globally, the virus has severely impacted the United States economy.

To better understand the U.S. economy’s current state during COVID-19 and gather tips for students, The Tartan spoke with Dr. Thomas Duncan, an Associate Professor of Economics at Radford University.

“From a local perspective, I’m actually surprised by Radford’s ability to financially survive the virus,” Dr. Duncan said.

“The virus is not affecting everyone evenly. There are some people who can work remotely from home, and then there are restaurants, bars, and even processing plants that have been required to shut-down,” Dr. Duncan said. “If people are being told they can’t work, then there are going to be a large amount of people not working.”

While the national unemployment rate has fallen by 8.4 percent in August, reported by The Wall Street Journal, “the number of permanent job losers increased by 534,000 to 3.4 million; this measure has risen by 2.1 million since February,” reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

“A crisis like no other, an uncertain recovery,” wrote The International Monetary Fund (IMF), an organization of 189 countries, created in 1945 to ensure the international monetary system’s stability, in their June 2020 report

Dr. Duncan elaborated on where he sees the U.S. economy heading in the near future, “Obviously, it’s not good news. It is at least somewhat promising that the unemployment rate is starting to fall, so it’s moving in the right direction.”

Downward Arrow
Photo Credit: (Ussama Azam) The downward arrow is symbolic of the downward trend of the current economy.

Dr. Duncan also discussed COVID-19’s impact on the City of Radford.

“From a local perspective, I’m actually surprised by Radford’s ability to financially survive the virus,” Dr. Duncan said. “People in the community continued to buy from restaurants and really pitched in to support downtown businesses.”

When it pertains to managing money during the health crisis, Dr. Duncan said, “Having a rainy day fund is really important; part of the issue with that is it’s raining now.”

“The rule of thumb is to have three months of rent and car payments saved up … If you don’t have that, students should consider applying for part-time jobs,” Dr. Duncan said.

Dr. Duncan gave information on how college students can budget, save, and spend effectively during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The rule of thumb is to have three months of rent and car payments saved up … If you don’t have that, students should consider applying for part-time jobs,” Dr. Duncan said. “Companies doing delivery services are expanding and are looking to hire applicants.”

“During recessions, your trade-off is typically to have a job or go to college. So if you’re in a really bad economic situation like we are now – if there’s not a job available for you – the next alternative would be to go to college.”

“Students need to discover the kinds of jobs that will allow them to work remotely alongside school, especially since we don’t know when the virus will spike again,” Dr. Duncan said. “This applies to internships, part-time jobs, and full-time jobs.”

Listen to the full interview with Dr. Duncan at rutartan.com.