Will the Coronavirus Recession Be Worse Than the Great Recession of 2008?


It's been about three months since states began lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Closing down businesses and state shutdowns across the country have plunged the United States economy into a recession.

Months after the stay-at-home orders began, people may have wondered if this downturn has surpassed the Great Recession, which happened in 18 months from 2007 to 2009.

Economist Austan Goolsbee spoke with Good Morning America, where he broke down the most significant differences and similarities for both recessions. The expert explained how and why our recovery now might be faster now than in 2008.

An important question you may be wondering, will the COVID-19 recession be worse than the Great Recession of 2008?

“In a way, these two recessions, it’s kind of like they were both floods in your bathroom, but they were very different kinds,” Goolsbee said.

Goolsbee said if officials can control the coronavirus, then our country would be in a much better position.

The economist explained a lot of “eerie” similarities between the recession in 2008 and 2020.

In 2008 and 2020, the groups that have been hit the hardest are people of color and lower-income families.

More than 50% of low-income households have personally experienced job loss in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As for similarities between the two recessions, Goolsbee says the more prolonged the recession is, the more social upheaval that takes place.

However, the economist said the two recessions also have their differences.

Goolsbee said that the COVID-19 recession is much bigger, more intense than the 2008 recession. He shared that the 2020 recession was caused by a virus, while 2008 was an economic bubble.

In 2008, he explained how the hardest-hit sectors were construction and anything related to housing. Goolsbee said during that time, a lot of men were in those jobs.

In 2020, the biggest hit has been to personal services like hair salons and nail salons. Goolsbee said it has been a lot worse for women than for men.

For many, Goolsbee said the warning signs are there when it comes to people thinking that 2020 will be the worst recession. However, just because those signs are there does not mean this has to be a worse recession.

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