Despite being one of the least-affected states in the nation from the novel coronavirus, Montana’s economic lockdown more closely mirrored those of densely populated states that suffered far worse. With the vast majority of coronavirus cases in Montana having recovered and with only minimal health consequences, the recession caused by Bullock’s lockdown will take years to overcome.
The Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana released their study and assert that Montana will permanently lose more than 50 thousand jobs and years will be required to put the state back on a secure economic footing.
Patrick Barkey, the director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, said, “We did this study on the effects of COVID on the Montana economy with some trepidation, because it’s still a moving target. We do expect to see a pretty strong return to growth, but even with that return to growth, it’s going to take a while.”
The report indicates that income loss will be close to 3.9 billion and will be significantly worse than the economic recession of 2008. Additionally, it will be worse than at any other time in Montana besides the Great Depression.
Barkey said, “By the time we get to the last three months of (2020) the expectation is there’s going to be some return to growth. It’ll take at least two years for the economy to get back on its trend.”
Much of this economic recession will be more severely felt in Missoula and Ravalli counties, according to the report, which will be more widely impacted by the lack of tourism and the loss in rental income. Governor Bullock’s orders have directly led to both of these risk factors.
Bullock’s cabinet told tourists just this week to stay away from Montana and he previously had ordered property owners not to collect rent or enforce lease agreements. The University of Montana report indicates that both will be deciding factors in the severity of this economic downturn.