Measuring the economic impact of the coronavirus

By |  April 27, 2020

About 100 aggregate producers responded to Pit & Quarry‘s April 1-8 coronavirus survey. Photo: P&Q Staff

Moods are surely brightening these days, with some states reopening and others looking to get their economies back to some form of normalcy in the weeks to come.

The economic road ahead remains uncertain, though, as the nation starts a new chapter of additional businesses operating under social distancing guidelines.

Earlier this month, Pit & Quarry conducted a survey of aggregate producers to gain a collective understanding of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on operations. About 100 producers took the survey, providing anonymous feedback through multiple-choice questions and written comments.

In the April 1-8 survey, P&Q asked producers how long they expect this latest economic downturn to last. The magazine gave producers several answer options, including weeks, months, through the end of the year and more than a year. Nearly half (47 percent) of producers told P&Q they expect the downturn to last months, with 21 percent expecting the downturn to last through 2020.

At the time of the survey, 9 percent expected the economic downturn to last more than a year. Eighteen percent, however, were not sure how long to expect the economic downturn to last.

“[With] the sanctions expected to last at least until midyear, we will be feeling the effects well into the middle of next year, if not beyond,” one producer survey respondent writes.

Writes another: “I expect the second and third quarters will be impacted by this. Some businesses will not be able to open again after this event, and many people will be reluctant to spend money until we are clearly out of the crisis.”

Drawing a comparison

In addition to asking producers how long they expected the economic downturn to last, P&Q asked producers how they expected the severity of this last economic downturn to compare to the Great Recession of 2008-09.

The responses P&Q gathered were mixed. Based on the April 1-8 survey, 34 percent of producers expected this latest downturn to be less severe than 2008-09. Fourteen percent expected this downturn to be about the same as the Great Recession, and 17 percent expected the downturn this time around to be more severe than the one a decade ago.

The other 35 percent of respondents weren’t sure how this latest economic downturn would compare to the Great Recession.

“[It] depends on which course of action our political leadership decides to take unfortunately,” one producer survey respondent writes. “If he were to allow business to open again, he’s seen as reckless; if he continues to prevent business from opening, he’s seen as uncaring for the economy.”

For additional P&Q coverage related to the coronavirus, visit our dedicated webpage.

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About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry. He can be reached at 216-706-3724 or

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