Dubois County's Economy Could Take a Hit if Coronavirus Continues to Spread


JASPER -- Dubois County, and other Hoosier manufacturing communities, could be in for a rough stretch thanks to fears over the coronavirus.

There are still no cases of the disease reported here in the Hoosier state, but local manufacturing companies could feel the strain of, what economists call, “supply chain disruption.”  There are more than 8 major manufacturing companies in Dubois County.

“Manufacturing is what China does for the world, sort of the manufacturing basket of the world, and that’s the epicenter of the coronavirus,” says IUPUC economist Ryan Brewer. “It could be that a lot of supply chains are shocked. I think that’s what markets are afraid of right now.”

Stocks plummeted on Wall Street last week over fears of the impact the coronavirus might have on the global economy, but they were able to recover in trading Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing up more than 1,000 points.

Still, with so many people sick in China, fewer supplies are coming over from China and that can make it more difficult for some factories to operate in the U.S.

“If the virus lasts deep into the summer and is able to communicate and spread around in the hot summer months as well, that’s when we see the wheels start to fall off the economy,” he added. “Disruption of a supply chain like this can take a long time to recover from.”

Brewer said it’s not like a typical recession.

Indiana imported $7.7 billion worth of goods from China last year. He said if Hoosier manufacturers continue to struggle to get parts and goods from China in order to make their products they might have to find another supplier, which he said is extremely difficult under these circumstances.