Stock market plummets, experts say it could change consumer habits in North Alabama

WAAY 31 spoke with an economic research scientist about the impact the stock market could have on North Alabama.

Posted: Mar 12, 2020 9:34 PM

The coronavirus is putting a halt on travel, but also on the U.S. economy. In just a couple of days, the Dow has plummeted 8 percent, the biggest drop since the market crash since 1987!

But North Alabama economists are saying to not worry yet about the local impact and that's because the market always fluctuates.

The plummeting U.S. market could have an impact on North Alabama consumer habits. Jeff Thompson, a research scientist at the College of Business at UAH, told us we don't need to worry just yet.

"Consumer habits will change. There will be stock-outs of things. But those will be temporary and I feel very confident it will come back quickly," says Thompson.

Thompson researches economic analysis for companies and does research at the College of Business at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

He talked to me about how consumer's fears and worried can impact the economy

"People are gonna eat so they may take out or have it delivered rather than eating in a restaurant so you'd have a shift from one type of restaurant for example to another type," he says.

Charles Blair works for door dash, a food delivery service. He's already seeing more business as coronavirus fears worsen.

"I would say there are more people getting food delivered but you know we take precautions ourselves. You know I keep hand sanitizer with me, wipe my bag out every night. Just simple things like that to keep the spread down," says Blair.

Thompson says there may also be a reduction in gasoline consumption. That's because more people may work from home and travel less.

But Thompson is telling people in North Alabama not to worry yet.

"It's not time to worry or panic yet. One thing to understand about our economy for the good and bad part is we have a very stable base for n economy with the arsenal for example and a number of industries are very stable. They don't really change based on economic conditions as you would have if you had more of a volatile area," says Thompson.

But Blair tells us he thinks the coronavirus fear could impact local business.

"It has the potential to. It scares consumers into staying at home and not going out . Not going out to functions, sporting events or things with big groups of people so i see a lot of people avoiding that," says Blair.

Thompson told us the stock market will settle and he has confidence in the economy both locally and statewide.

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