DARKE COUNTY — Though the U.S. economy has taken a precipitous downturn during the past few months due to the Coronavirus pandemic, not all economic news is bad, according to the featured speaker hosted by the Darke County Chamber of Commerce during its annual meeting Wednesday.
Donn Goodman, senior vice president at Atalanta Sosnoff Capital, spoke to chamber members via ZOOM.
“Right before this thing fell apart, in 2017, 2018, and 2019, economists were talking about how long this business cycle would go on,” he said, before pointing out the up-and-down stock market and a massive increase in unemployment suffered through March and April.
“The question that the economists have is ‘How much is going to be permanent?’ Of course this has had a lot of effect on industrial production and nominal retail sales. I’ve not seen charts like this since 2008,” he said.
However, Goodman showed a graph detailing small business optimism, which, though it has dropped, he described as not “catastrophic.”
“A lot of small businesses are optimistic that they can reopen and reestablish themselves,” he said. “Of the numbers we’ve bandied about, somewhere between 50 and 60 percent of small businesses may not make it. I think that number’s a little harsh. And while I don’t know what the outcome is going to be, I remain optimistic that it will be far less than that.”
“One of the positive signs, which fueled the stock market rally in April, was what was happening in other parts of the world. One of them was the Chinese passenger vehicle sales. This is a pretty good measurement of rebound,” Goodman explained.
Pointing to higher S&P 500 numbers, he said this indicates the economy as a whole should “pick up in between 4 to 6 months.”
He also pointed to the increased money supply as a stock market driver.
“If you look at it for the last year, you can see the stock market has really followed the money supply to a great deal,” he said.
Goodman said other positive indicators include the strength of the economy before the pandemic.
“We were doing well before the quarantine, on pretty strong footing. If we can come out and recover and reopen, we should be doing better,” he explained, though saying how long and how well is “a big question mark.”
Other positives include new vaccines and technologies being developed to help alleviate the pandemic and more people investing in the stock market.
The meeting was the first time in the Chamber’s 93-year history to be held virtually, according to Chamber Chairman John Warner, who thanked all businesses in Darke County for their “ongoing work in these challenging times.”
Chamber President Sharon Deschambeau echoed Warner, saying that “nothing truly prepares us for this type of crisis and decision-making.”
“It has been extremely stressful for those making tough decisions. Our goal as a chamber of commerce is to continue to provide information and resources to the business community,” she said, adding that for the near future the Chamber would be hosting virtual meetings with speakers like Goodman.
This year’s event was hosted by Sam Custer of the Ohio State University, Darke County Extension, and was sponsored by Greenville National Bank. Co-sponsors include Dave Knapp Ford, Family Health, Fram Group, Greenville Technology Inc., Hittle Buick GMC, Koverman Staley Dickerson Insurance, Leis Realty, Maid-Rite Sandwich Shoppe, Reid Specialty Physicians of Greenville, Rumpke, Second National Bank, and Walls Brothers Asphalt.
Erik Martin may be reached by phone at 937-569-4312 or by email at email@example.com