Economic Impacts on Students

The United States’ economy is one of the most powerful in the world, but that does not grant it immunity from rough patches of inflation or overall weakness. As most consumers are aware, high inflation rates and rising interest rates plagued 2022. 

Unfortunately, the non-profit think tank The Conference Board predicts that it will become worse before it gets better. 

According to The Conference Board’s website, “economic weakness will intensify and spread more widely throughout the US economy over the coming months, leading to a recession starting in early 2023.”

Economics teacher Chris Wilson teaches students the ins-and-outs of the economy, including what causes changes in the economy. 

With his guidance, students may make educated predictions about what’s to come. 

“Economic downturns, like negative GDP growth, also known as contractions in the business cycle, are frequently caused and exaggerated by rampant consumer pessimism,” Wilson said. 

“If people fear a recession with higher than normal rates of unemployment, household consumption habits begin to change.”

These changes are usually not positive.

“People typically stop spending as much as they did prior and—here’s the kicker—it actually makes things worse,” Wilson said. 

“Businesses can’t generate revenue, lay-offs sweep the country and we enter into recession.”

Working student and senior Alexis Choi has experienced this phenomenon on a small scale at the restaurant she has been working at for a year. 

“I work as a hostess at the Riviera House in the Riviera Village,” Choi said. “I would say that Saturday nights used to have way more people. It might have been because it was closer to the summer, though. Recently, there have been less people.”

However, Wilson does not believe that the scenario he described will occur this year.

“The reason? Market intervention by the [Federal Reserve] and Congress will alleviate a lot of the problems on the horizon, but we shouldn’t expect these institutions to solve everything. The private sector will need to play a massive role, as well,” Wilson said. 

Those who follow the economy have their own thoughts on what’s to come, but how does this affect students? 

“In times of economic uncertainty, there are always economic opportunities that manifest themselves,” Wilson said. “The key for students who are worried about maintaining financial stability is to start thinking about how one can shield themselves from the fallout.”

For this, Wilson advises students to ask themselves a few questions.

“Are you working in an industry that is recession-proof? Will people demand your services despite the doom and gloom surrounding you? Do you have a source of passive income, [such as] assets, investments, et cetera? Are you fortunate enough to be spending the next few years as a full-time student or in college and not having to be worrying about an unstable labor market? These are questions one should be seriously considering—no matter what your current status may be.”