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New Iowa State web hub lets users track COVID-19’s economic impacts in the US

23 May 2020

Tracking COVID-19’s economic impacts, especially in the state of Iowa, is now possible thanks to resources on a new web hub.

The webpage “COVID-19 Pandemic: Research and Resources” developed by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and the Department of Economics at Iowa State University, examines the pandemic’s impacts on the economy, agriculture and business across local, regional and global economies.

“Right now, you can track unemployment. You can see changes in Iowans’ mobility by county since the lockdown began and track changes in their movement patterns as the lockdown lifts. You can see economists answering questions from Iowans who have real concerns about their businesses, and more,” said CARD Director John Crespi, who led the creation of the web hub with Department of Economics Chair Joshua Rosenbloom, as well as both units’ staff and researchers.

The hub includes graphs, tables and maps visually representing the scale and extent of the pandemic's impact and features related press releases and publications, such as “The Impact of COVID-19 on Iowa’s Corn, Soybean, Ethanol, Pork, and Beef Sector” released in April. It also offers an interactive tool to estimate total losses to Iowa’s corn, soybean and ethanol markets due to COVID-19.

“I think it is a very good start to an important project,” Rosenbloom said. “It offers resources that can help producers, businesses and policymakers make informed decisions now and plan for the future during this unprecedented time in our history.”

The web hub’s hot topics include Wendong Zhang and Nick Paulsen’s presentation on COVID-19’s impact on US-China trade. Zhang is an Iowa State assistant professor and Extension economist, and Paulsen is a University of Illinois associate professor of agricultural and consumer economics.

The site also shares relevant queries from Iowans who contact the Department of Economics’ Ask an Economist service. Current questions examine beef prices, the potential devaluation of the dollar, and how to start a pandemic-related business.

“Keep checking back to see what’s new,” Crespi said. “We plan to continue adding resources in upcoming weeks and expect weekly updates to corn, soybean, ethanol, pork and beef markets that will automatically adjust as new data become available.”



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