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Economics professor optimistic for post-graduation jobs despite economic downturn

One year ago this week, the coronavirus pandemic that Americans watched wreak havoc overseas landed full-force on the people of the United States and its economy. Despite a year of catastrophic downturn that saw the closure of small businesses nationwide, and job-loss numbers in the millions, Westminster College professor Michael Mamo is optimistic about the future.

Mamo is the chair of the economics department at Westminster and has taught at the institution since 2002. His areas of research interest are public policy and its impacts on economic inequality.

In his podcast interview with The Forum, Mamo broke down the basics of the unemployment index, inflation and high-interest rates. He explained the way economists have been using these metrics to gauge the health of the economy and gave his own prognosis about improvements that he’s already seen.

This graph depicts the rates of unemployment during the Great Recession compared to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The peak of unemployment during the Great Recession reached 10%, while the peak during COVID-19 reached as high as 14.8%. Despite this, economics professor
Michael Mamo is optimistic about the future.
(Source: Congressional Research Service Report on Unemployment, Jan. 2021)

“With the availability of the vaccine, and hopefully with this new round of relief package, we should be able to see every school in the country will be opened and most economic activity will go back to normal and things that have been slowing down or that have gone under have the good probability of coming back,” Mamo said. “We should be able to see full stadiums, we should be able to see movie theaters and schools everywhere are in full operation mode, probably by the end of the summer I would expect things to get back to normal.”

Mamo also commented on the state college graduates will find themselves in this year, which he predicts may spill into 2022. 

“If you were to graduate last year, it was really one of the worst times to join the labor market,” Mamo said. “But things are much better now. Remember, despite the huge unemployment claims this week, companies are still hiring.”

Listen to the full interview with Mamo in the latest episode of Office Hours, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud

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Anthony Giorgio
Anthony Giorgio is a third-year communication major and research assistant at Westminster College. He specializes in filmmaking, design, and creative writing in addition to other artistic pursuits in his free time. Forever a coffee-enthusiast, he maintains a regular caffeine intake and is happy to answer any questions you have about coffee preparation or history. He would also like to take this opportunity to remind you to always tip your baristas and other service workers, and to tip extra for the duration of the pandemic.

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