Arizona Economist: 'We Are In Recession Already'

Published: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 8:04am
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 8:32am
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Lauren Loftus/KJZZ
Jim Rounds in KJZZ's studio in 2015.

Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, a top-health care officials said Arizona still doesn’t have enough coronavirus tests, and a local economist said financial pain caused by the pandemic will likely last longer than optimistic projections.

Jim Rounds said the hope has been for a V-shaped recession. This means a huge drop in Gross Domestic Product during the second quarter, roughly zero percent growth in the third, and then things would start to surge.

“It’s looking a little bit more like a U-shaped recession is developing. We are in recession already. This is going to be devastating in terms of the GDP losses and job losses. But we will get many of them back,” said Rounds.

Rounds said corporations have a better chance of surviving than locally owned restaurants and shops. He also said it’s time to replace brainstorming ways to help businesses with real policy.

The New York Times has ranked Arizona dead last in testing per capita for the coronavirus.

The president and CEO of Banner Health said the lack of testing prevents sick people from being identified and isolated quickly enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Peter Fine also took part in the webinar. He said Banner’s drive-through sites have been open for less than two weeks and are running out of tests. 

“Again we’re at this issue — are we going to have to close these down in a week because we can’t get the testing kits to support them,” Fine said.  

Banner has three drive-through testing sites in Phoenix and one in Tucson.

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