How The Coronavirus Is Impacting Utahns’ Money & The Economy

Mar 9, 2020, 11:23 PM | Updated: 11:29 pm
(Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Another rough day on Wall Street was just the latest evidence of the novel coronavirus taking its toll on the economy. Still, experts said it’s no time to panic and that Utah is in a good spot to “weather the storm.”

“It’s not so much the spread of the virus over the near term that matters as much as the spread of fear,” said Jason Ware, chief investment officer at Albion Financial Group. “Because that fear turns into people changing economic behaviors and if we do that large enough in mass then that can certainly cause a ripple effect in the economy.”

The stock market kicked off in the wrong direction with the Dow Jones seeing its biggest point-drop in history Monday, amid crashing oil prices and worries over COVID-19.

Ware cautioned investors, warning “it’s not the end of the world.”

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on March 09, 2020 in New York City. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 2,000 points as investors concerns over the spreading coronavirus continue to affect global markets. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

From stocks to tourism, transportation and trade, both the U.S. and Utah economies are already seeing the impact, or what economists call an economic shock.

“A shock is when something comes seemingly out of nowhere and changes the way the economy is functioning and that’s what we have here,” said Natalie Gochnour, chief economist at the Salt Lake Chamber during a roundtable discussion with KSL TV. “Of any place probably in the world, we are very well positioned…to work through this economic impact. But make no mistake about it it’s happening right now.”

Gochnour also said, with all the unknowns surrounding the virus, now may not be a good time to get into debt. She recommended people have a rainy-day account.

To help offset the economic impact on the U.S., President Donald Trump said Monday he wants to work with lawmakers on a payroll tax cut.

“This was something that we were thrown into and we’re going to handle it, and we have been handling it very well,” President Trump told reporters during an afternoon press conference.

Like the virus itself, Ware admitted the elderly may be the most vulnerable when it comes to the financial impact.

“The worst thing you can do is make the wrong decision at the wrong time amid the volatility,” he said.

Ware said the best approach to investing is going to be unique to everyone.

But for most people, “the best course of action is to stay the course and ride the volatility in your portfolio.”

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How The Coronavirus Is Impacting Utahns’ Money & The Economy