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How is COVID-19 impacting Eastern Idaho’s economy?

Economic Report
Economic Report

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Key numbers are flowing into the Research and Business Development Center in Rexburg.

The director of business research, Will Jenson, is leading a busy group of Bringham Young University Idaho students hoping to uncover the pandemic's economic impact on Madison, Jefferson and Bonneville County.

"Looking at kind of some needs around the area of businesses that were just dying for information, trying to understand how consumers feel about the economy. Consumer confidence is such a big component of how well an economy performs," Jenson said.

Each week the group puts out an online report that includes data including the number of unemployment claims, community members comfort levels with COVID-19, and business analytics from various industries. It also measures criminal activity, traffic volume, gas prices and electricity demands.

"A lot of households are looking into it and finding valuable information there. But businesses too and, you know, information helps make good decisions, you know, business decisions have to be made off of good information and without information, you're left to just guessing, and nobody likes that and it ends in a bad outcome. So we're just trying to provide as much information as we can," Jenson said.

Jenson predicts that if the number of cases doesn't spike again, we should return to a fairly normal state in the economy in the next three to six months. If there is another spike, he says the road to recovery could be as long as 18 months.

"It will be interesting going forward, to watch how businesses, adapt to potential pandemics that could happen in the future, because this probably isn't the last time this will happen," Jenson said.

The group is finding that each county has varying data.

“Each county in Idaho when you compare the economies of each county they're very different from each other. Rexburg has a whole new set of concerns when it comes to the future economy because BYU-Idaho students are not on campus right now, and so that has a huge impact here that may not affect Idaho Falls as much so their outlook and how the economy is adjusting to all of us is very different from place to place," Jenson said.

For more information on the group's weekly reports click here.

Article Topic Follows: Economy
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Jilliana Colina

Jilliana is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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