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An Economist’s Perspective

Make a check mark on a piece of paper, then tilt it toward the long end. That is how Natalie Gochnour BS’84 MS’88 describes the country’s economic recovery. “It includes a rapid fall, followed by a steady but slow economic climb up the other side,” she says. “The economy will recover, but it will take time.”

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, it was Gochnour and team at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute who helped answer the call for a state economic recovery plan. “Government and business leaders knew the value of a directionally correct plan to hold onto and then iterate from,” says Gochnour, director of the institute and associate dean of the David Eccles School of Business. 

What followed was a frenzy of work from Utah’s economic task force composed of volunteers from both private and public sectors, including Gochnour. “And then the Gardner Institute became the natural home for all this thinking to come together,” she adds. “Our staff put in long hours editing and compiling a lot of information.” The result: Utah Leads Together, a three-phase recovery plan that has since evolved over several iterations in response to the status of the virus’s spread (see the latest version at coronavirus.utah.gov).

When asked what we can all do in our everyday lives to help the economy recover, Gochnour advises: “Follow public health guidelines. If you’re opposed to a shutdown, wear a mask.” She reminds us that the pandemic is not a short-term problem but a new risk we must manage. “Our actions will make all the difference.”


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