The Economic Crisis Amidst Coronavirus Is Hitting Us Hard

Frederic Aurelien/Staff Writer

I would love to tell you that the world is at a turning point, but given the circumstances, it seems that the world has stopped turning. 

Since the global outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (better known as COVID-19), practically every major nation on Earth has been shut down. Hospitals are overwhelmed, medical equipment is scarce and many everyday workers are wondering if the livelihoods of their families and of themselves are in jeopardy.

In the past two weeks alone, nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment, marking the worst month for American jobs since the great recession in March 2009

To put this in perspective, we are currently at an unemployment rate of 9.5%, whereas the highest that the unemployment rate peaked during the Great Recession was 10%

Let that sink in, and realize that the biggest difference between now and then is that this crisis has only just begun. 

One of the most frightening predictions that have been made comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. They have predicted that total unemployment in our country could rise above 30%. This worst-case scenario would be comparable to America in the 1930s during the Great Depression; however, at that time, unemployment hit its peak at 24.9%

If you are not shocked by these stats, allow me to take the abstract symbols of percentages and rates out of my language so that I may convey to you a more naked truth. At least 45 million Americans are expected to lose their jobs. 

We are all affected by these numbers, even as college students not yet in the workforce. We feel it in our homes as our television screens lock us in our minds’ worst-case scenario. We see it in the faces of our parents as they file for unemployment benefits or small business loans. It fills us in our grocery stores and it occupies the emptiness of our playgrounds. It is all around us.  

For FIU students, this pandemic has been a sudden violence to our realities, especially to the Class of 2020. The truth is, many who were expecting to enter the workforce and begin their lives as working adults will meet a very strange America. 

For example, FIU has the number one hospitality school in the southeast. With the 2,000+ students that study to get a bachelor’s in Hospitality Management, they would expect that the bustling city of Miami would be the most secure place to find work after graduation. Ironically enough, these students will probably be hit the hardest from this economic collapse.

The coronavirus has devastated the hospitality industry, according to CNN reports. Companies like Marriott have seen cancellations at historic highs due to this pandemic and have had to furlough thousands of their workers in response. An Oxford Economic study conducted for the American Hotel and Lodging Association also found that 44% of hotel employees are likely to lose their jobs

It’s not only Miami that will suffer. The state of Florida depends on worldwide tourist attractions such as Disney World and Universal Studios. With these parks shut down, Florida will take a brutal hit. 

Even after the pandemic is contained, we must remember that a large population of our residents are older, and so are more susceptible to dying from this virus. Because of this, consumer spending at business establishments like restaurants is likely to take even longer to return to normal. This, in turn, will slow down their rehiring process.

We’ve heard the politicians that say this pandemic will be contained within a few months, or perhaps on a divine Easter Sunday. Many scientists, however, are estimating that it will take them at least a year to find a vaccine. It’s hard to tell anyone to prepare for a future that is uncertain for the entire world, but regardless, we must. If one thing is for certain, it’s that it will be essential for nations across the world to continue to work together if we wish to overcome this obstacle. 

This same principle applies to us, as ordinary citizens. If we are to get through this together, we cannot be inconsiderate in our own actions or divisive of other people. We must continue to work together as neighbors and countrymen, in solidarity and harmony.

Featured photo by Nathaniel_U on Flickr.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.Have questions or comments for our writers? Send an email to with your name and the name of the column in the subject line.

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