A look at economic & demographic data in a COVID-19 world 


Oregons Health Capacity   Economist Josh Lehner with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis talks in his recent blog about healthcare, social distancing, and the workforce.
   Lehner said the healthcare system is going to be stressed, and this is why health officials are putting guidelines into place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
   The healthcare industry has grown, according to Lehner, but it basically has kept pace with population growth.
   He and his colleagues dug into some rough data this week to see the economic effects of the virus.
   Lehner said, "First, we know that humans are social animals. Our ability to work together is one of our greatest strengths."
   This is why social distancing is probably hard on society.
   Lehner found about 33 percent of Oregonians live in what he defines as close proximity to each other (groups that live together and apartment living).
   When it comes to the workforce, Lehner said, "Obviously recommendations are that if a worker is sick, they should not go into work to help prevent contagion. Similarly folks should work from home to help prevent contagion. The problem here for the workforce is these are easier said then done."
   Lehner said many services workers don't have paid time off.
   He said it's these workers than will take the hardest hit economically.
   When it comes to working from home, Oregon has about 7 percent of its workforce that telecommutes and nationally about 30 percent could.
   "There are only so many data monkeys like myself who can crunch numbers pretty much anywhere with an internet connection," said Lehner.
   To read more of his blog, click here.