Economic Impact of an Outbreak

February 18, 2021


Buffalo, NY - As the nation segued from a health crisis to an economic one, faculty from the Department of Economics & Finance became a valued resource for the media and public at-large. 

News reporters called upon Doctors George Palumbo, Mark Zaporowski or Julie Anna Golebiewski ’04, almost daily, for insight on the fiscal impacts of the outbreak and projections as to what a recovery may look like.   

The news for the Buffalo-Niagara region was often less than optimistic. 

“The local economy will be sick long after the outbreak starts to ease,” anticipated Palumbo.  “This region has historically taken a bigger beating than most during a recession and takes longer to recover.”

One out of every four jobs in Western New York fell victim to the lockdown and caused the local unemployment rate to spike to 19.2 percent (April 2020), the highest of any metro area in New York State and “among the highest in the nation, on par with such hard hit tourist areas as Las Vegas, New Orleans and Myrtle Beach,” reported Zaporowski.  


How long the economic downturn lasts “depends on how quickly consumers return to their typical spending behavior,” said Golebiewski.  With no simple answers, she predicts “recovery will happen not in weeks, perhaps not even months but years.”

Palumbo, Zaporowski and Golebiewski are co-authors of WNY Economic News, which provides analysis and forecasts of economic trends in the Buffalo-Niagara metropolitan area and contrasts these trends with those in New York State and the nation.