Impacts on the U.S. Macroeconomy of Mandatory Business Closures in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic


We estimate the macroeconomic impacts of mandatory business closures in the U.S. and many other countries in order to control the spread of the COVID-19. The analysis is based on the application of a modified version of the GTAP model. We simulate mandatory closures in all countries or parts of countries that had imposed them as of 7 April for three-month and six-month cases. For the three-month scenario, we estimate a 20.3% decline of U.S. GDP on an annual basis, or $4.3 trillion. The employment decline of 22.4% in the U.S. for the three-month closure represents 35.2 million workers for that period. If the mandatory closures are extended to six months because of a second wave, these negative impacts would slightly more than double. The employment impacts are slightly greater in percentage terms than the GDP impacts because most service sectors, which are generally more labour-intensive, are more negatively impacted by the closures than are ‘essential’ sectors. Our results should be considered upper-bound estimates given such assumptions as businesses laying off workers no longer paying them wages or salaries. Note also that the article examines the mandatory closures alone and does not factor in any countervailing fiscal or monetary policies.

Full paper available at Applied Economics Letters.

Citation: Walmsley, T., Rose, A., & Wei, D. (2020). Impacts on the US Macroeconomy of Mandatory Business Closures in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Applied Economics Letters.