In the Press
September 6, 2021
Labor Day marks end of federal pandemic unemployment benefits
By: Courtney Francisco
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WCPO article that explores how the end of pandemic-related benefits will impact gig workers, independent contractors, and those who are employed.
Excerpt: But University of Cincinnati economist Michael Jones said he can understand the argument that the time is right to remove certain pandemic support structures. “In the peak of the crisis, there were five workers that were looking for every one job,” he said. [...] “There are several reasons people are not going back to work,” Jones said. They include rising COVID-19 cases and the struggle to find childcare, among others.
August 16, 2021
Homeschooling on the rise across the Tri-State. Here's how that could impact local schools.
By: Madeline Ottilie
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WCPO article that takes a look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the landscape of education.
Excerpt: University of Cincinnati economics professor Dr. Michael Jones said the COVID-19 pandemic allowed people to consider education alternatives like homeschooling or private school districts.
"I don't think you're going to see all of those children go back into the public school system," Jones told WCPO. "I think some parents have realized that they appreciate the flexibility." Jones added that, with fewer students returning to public school districts, that could mean more investment per student." Because more of those students are now being homeschooled, it actually allows for more dollars per student for those students that still are in the public school system," he said.
August 8, 2021
Work from home isn't going away anytime soon
By: Madeline Ottilie
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WCPO article that explores the economic impact of a new norm that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic—working from home.
Excerpt: University of Cincinnati economics professor Michael Jones said that's creating “winners and losers” in the economy. Workers at home might be saving money if they're spending less on gas, or they're able to relocate to an area with lower cost of living, but service sectors in downtown areas might be suffering as a result. Commercial real estate is experiencing a shift, too. Jones said we're seeing increased demand for industry and warehouse space but seeing more vaccinated people in sectors where companies are deciding to bring less workers back. Jones said some of these shifts might not be temporary.
“I think if COVID lasted only a few weeks or even a month or two, then we would have gone back to the way things were before,” Jones said. “But we're now entering the second and third year of COVID, and so the norms have become established. People are used to working from home. People are used to having that flexibility.” Jones said we're not seeing an overall decrease in the amount of spending, we're just seeing a shift in where those dollars are spent. For example, some workers are still buying their lunch, but instead of eating out they're buying it at the grocery store.
August 5, 2021
Restaurants are still having hiring problems, even with enhanced benefits gone
By: Patrick Cooley
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this The Columbus Dispatch article that looks into the significant staffing shortage restaurants are facing.
Excerpt: The forces underlying the restaurant industry’s hiring woes are a matter of continuous debate. “There are really two competing theories of why the labor shortage exists,” said Michael Jones, a professor of economics at the University of Cincinnati. “One, more on the right, is that unemployment benefits are too generous.”
Meanwhile, left-leaning commentators cite a lack of childcare — daycare centers face similar hiring problems — employee harassment and low wages compared to other industries, Jones said. Economic data collected after Gov. Mike DeWine dropped the enhanced benefits should eventually point to one side or the other, he added. “If that labor shortage persists into the fall and into the winter, that’s going to tell you which one of those wins out,” Jones said.
August 3, 2021
Tyson Foods implements mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for workers, including at plant in West Chester
By: Todd Dykes
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WLWT article that reveals Tyson Foods' recent decision to require vaccinations for all of its employees—an indication that more vaccine mandates will likely be seen in the Midwest.
Excerpt: Tyson Foods is mandating all of its office workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus by the first of October. The company's front-line workers will need to roll up their sleeves by Nov. 1.
"This has happened very rapidly," said Michael Jones, a professor of economics at the University of Cincinnati and the academic director at the Kautz Uible Economics Institute. Jones has been wondering if, when and how businesses might decide to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory.
"Tyson is one of the first companies in our area to make this announcement," Jones said. "Last week we saw the federal government make the announcement. And even this morning we saw the city of New York began to mandate vaccines for customers to go into restaurants and bars."
July 28, 2021
To mandate vaccines or not? Corporate Cincinnati again examining mandatory vaccination
By: John London
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WLWT article that explores the possibility of business requiring their employees to be vaccinated in the wake of rising COVID-19 variant cases.
Excerpt: Business is proceeding cautiously, not only because of potential litigation but other factors such as proof, how to confirm natural immunity, which vaccines to prefer and exemptions.
"It's not clear that businesses even want to address those questions or necessarily have the capabilities to," said Michael Jones, a UC professor of Economics. "I think there's again real hesitancy, real caution before even dipping your toe in the water."
July 28, 2021
Cincinnati ranked No. 1 in fastest-selling homes
By: Madeline Ottilie
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WCPO article that investigates why Cincinnati tops the list of cities with the quickest-selling homes in the country.
Excerpt: Michael Jones is an economics professor at the University of Cincinnati. He said our region typically has a low cost of living compared to other metro areas, so many people working from home are leaving bigger cities and relocating to the Midwest. Low interest rates and limited home supply has created a classic problem of supply and demand.
“Part of that is driven to the nature of housing,” Jones said. “It takes time to build. New home starts are up quite a bit, just in the last month. We've seen new home permits increase quite dramatically, but it takes time to get those houses in market. So I think in the next few months, we'll continue to see high prices.”
July 26, 2021
Recreational marijuana legalization could be back on the table for Ohio
By: Taylor Nimmo
Managing Director Debashis Pal is quoted in this WCPO article that explores the potential economic impact of marijuana legalization in Ohio.
Excerpt: Economic experts say such a bill could help boost tax revenue in Ohio, impacting the Greater Cincinnati region, as well, as has been seen in other states that legalized and taxed recreational marijuana.
"I would say it would be somewhere upwards of $100 million that we would get through tax revenue," said Debashis Pal, an economics professor at the University of Cincinnati. "Given what we make out of alcohol and tobacco and what Colorado is making, I am confident we would male $100 million-plus."
March 29, 2021
China and Xinjiang: What luxury needs to know
By: Vogue Business Team
Institute fellow Dipanjan Chatterjee is quoted in this Vogue Business article that explores the potential economic impact of a cancelled partnership between Chinese tech giant Tencent and luxury brand Burberry amidst tensions regarding cotton production in Xinjiang.
Excerpt: “A political fracas in China is about the last thing a luxury brand wants. Alienating the Chinese market is bad for most brands; it could be outright disaster for luxury brands,” says Dipanjan Chatterjee, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.
[...] Still, some argue it is unlikely that Burberry will suffer an immediate loss of revenue from the cancellation of the Honor of Kings partnership and, despite the social media flurry, there is no evidence that consumers will abandon the brand, according to Forrester's Chatterjee.
March 23, 2021
With Fewer Ads on Streaming, Brands Make More Movies
By: Nicole Sperling and Tiffany Hsu
Institute fellow Dipanjan Chatterjee is quoted in this New York Times article that explores how the rise in streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways companies advertise.
Excerpt: It’s all part of a deliberate shift by brands to try to integrate themselves more fully into consumers’ lives, the way companies like Apple and Amazon have, said Dipanjan Chatterjee, an analyst with Forrester. And they want to do so without commercials, which, he said, have “zero credibility” with consumers.
“If the right story has the right ingredients and it becomes worthwhile for sharing, it doesn’t come across as an intrusive bit of advertising,” Mr. Chatterjee said. “It feels much more like a natural part of our lives.”
January 21, 2021
Ohio university economists say opening schools will provide economic boost
By: J.D. Davidson
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this Mahoning Matters article that shares the findings of a recent survey of 32 economists from Ohio colleges and universities regarding the role school openings could play in boosting the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Excerpt: "Until schools reopen, there is a limit on how many individuals can go back to work,” Michael Jones, an economist at the University of Cincinnati, said. “With schools closed, the natural rate of unemployment is higher.”
October 21, 2020
Businesses nervous rising COVID-19 cases could eventually mean second shutdown
By: Dan Griffin
UC Economics Professor David Brasington is quoted in this WLWT article that highlights the challenges many businesses are faced with months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Locally, Hamilton County is on the brink of turning purple—the highest level on the state's advisory system; this looming possibility has business owners worried about a potential second shutdown.
Excerpt: Brasington hopes a second shutdown isn't coming. "I think only large national chains for restaurants, for example, would be predominant and a lot of local businesses that are specific to Cincinnati might close," he said. He adds, a second shutdown may not be as dramatic because we know more than we did in March. But Brasington said unemployment is higher than it should be and that's a drag on the economy and spending. [...] Brasington said businesses should think about online options, and he said a second targeted stimulus would be helpful.
October 15, 2020
Holiday shoppers encouraged to shop local in year of pandemic
By: Miana Massey
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this WLWT article that shines a light on the importance of shopping locally this holiday season, especially in light of the long recovery processes many businesses are still faced with as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns earlier this year.
Excerpt: "It is really critical for local retailers not to just wait until Black Friday to get in front of the customer because by that point it might be too late," Kautz-Uible Economics Institute Executive Director Michael Jones said. He says online sales are up 50% this year, and encourages business owners to get creative. [...] "Customer service is one thing that a lot of local businesses have, they know the customer, they what they want. They often have a relationship with them that the larger online retailers just don't have," Jones said.
September 14, 2020
UC partnerships create new opportunities for Kingsgate Logistics
By: Matt Koesters
This UC News article highlights the collaboration of Academic Director Michael Jones and graduate students Hunter Hall, Jesse Hendren-Mills, Elijah Proffitt, and Samuel Ransohoff-Englert with Kingsgate Logistics. Using the institute's innovative blockchain lab, the students developed recommendations for how Kingsgate could use blockchain technology to their advantage.
Excerpt: "Through the Kautz-Uible Economics Institute, students can apply the economic concepts that they learn in the classroom within a real-world setting," Jones says. "They see how approaching business through an economics mindset can bring clarity to an issue. Students learn through feedback loops, and by working with business leaders, they experience a different perspective than their professors provide in the classroom alone."
August 19, 2020
Ohio economists say mask mandate is well worth doing
By: Marty Schladen
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this Ohio Capital Journal article (shared on News5Cleveland.com) that explores the findings of a recent survey of 40 economists on the Ohio Economic Experts Panel regarding a statewide mask mandate. The respondents overwhelmingly agreed "that the state's mask mandate is the economically wise thing to do."
Excerpt: Even the economist who was most lukewarm about mask wearing seemed to say the mandate is worth a shot. Michael Jones of the University of Cincinnati responded with a '5' when asked to rate on a 1-10 scale how much he agreed that the long-term benefits of mask-wearing exceeded the costs. "Even though the long-term benefits are unknown, the costs of the mandate itself seem quite low," he said.
August 14, 2020
Take dire surveys with a grain of salt, economists say
By: Patrick Cooley
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this Akron Beacon Journal article that reminds readers to take gloomy predictions about the current economic climate with a grain of salt.
Excerpt: “What people say is not always necessarily what they’ll do,” University of Cincinnati economics professor Michael Jones said. “And there's incentive to make the situation seem worse than it is to encourage government help."
May 6, 2020
When Will It Be Safe To Buy Again?
By: Christopher Elliott
Academic Director Michael Jones is quoted in this Forbes article that highlights the uncertainty buyers felt during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.
Excerpt: "It's no surprise that people are buying fewer of these products. Purchases of durable goods like cars and houses are tied to business cycles," explains Michael Jones, an economics professor at the University of Cincinnati.
"During recessionary periods, purchases of these goods fall significantly more than nondurable purchases because these items tend to be financed with debt," he says. "As such, they are much more sensitive to changes in interest rates."
April 13, 2020
Facing Financial Stress, Nonprofits Lay Off Workers
By: Jim Rendon
Academic Director Michael Jones is featured in this Chronicle of Philanthropy article that explores the financial strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on nonprofit organizations across the country. Rendon cites Jones's findings that 18,000 organizations—around 22% of nonprofits in the U.S.—had less than two weeks of cash on hand. This discovery came from Jones's recent analysis of the tax returns of 155,000 nonprofits, as explained in Jones's A Surge of Nonprofit Closures. This sobering finding means that these organizations, which employ around 1.65 million, will likely have to lay off a significant portion of their staff. Even more troubling is the fact that the average amount of cash on hand for all of the nonprofits in Jones's analysis was about three months.
March 16, 2020
Issue 7 in Hamilton County: What to know about sales tax increase for transit, roads and bridges
By: Pat LaFleur
Academic Director Michael Jones is featured in this WCPO exploratory article of Hamilton County's Issue 7. LaFleur refers to Jones's research regarding the economic consequences of tax rate adjustments that would result from the passing of this issue. According to Jones, Issue 7 would make Cincinnati a more attractive place for businesses to gravitate toward; he states, "That's going to cause a lot of new revenue to come into the city itself."
Additionally, Jones provides insight into the downside of Issue 7, adding that projections for the potential amount of revenue a sales tax can raise need to be considered. He states, "When proponents claim that the 0.8 sales tax will raise $130 million for public transit and infrastructure, the actual collection will be roughly $5 million less." According to Jones, the 0.8% increase could raise 95% of projections or higher.
In regards to the unprecedented sales tax increase, Jones warns: "There's a limit to how much Hamilton County can raise its sales tax. So if the county needs to raise more revenue, they've kind of used everything up. They've gone from 7 to 7.8 (percent). They can't go much higher."