Fred Floss, professor and chair of Buffalo State College’s Economics and Finance Department, recently spoke with WIVB-TV Channel 4, WGRZ-TV Channel 2, and the Buffalo News on the regional economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the GameStop stock market controversy.
Speaking with WGRZ’s Leanne Struck, Floss offered words of caution to potential investors in a January 28 piece titled “Local Economics Experts Weigh In on GameStop Stock Market Frenzy.”
“If you are thinking about getting involved in the stock market particularly for stocks with AMC or GameStop, you should stop, because the only thing that is going to happen is you’re going to lose your money,” he said.
In an article for WIVB on February 2 titled “How Western New Yorkers Spent Their Money during the Pandemic,” Floss spoke with reporter Al Vaughters about which businesses have struggled during the past year. The service industry, which includes hotels and restaurants, has been hardest hit.
“We are not seeing the sales from those places, and not only are the individuals being hurt but obviously the state is not raising revenues from these areas, either,” Floss said in the piece.
Floss also spoke with the Buffalo News for three pieces by Deputy Business Editor David Robinson. In a January 24 column titled “As COVID Cases Rise, Buffalo Niagara Job Market Takes a Turn for the Worse,” Floss discussed the job market in Western New York and how it may rebound from the pandemic.
“If you give the money to individuals who don’t have a lot of money—the lower-paid workers—they’re going to spend more of it. That’s going to have the biggest economic impact.”
“We’re still staring at a huge hole, and the question is how fast and how far we can come back,” he said. “It’s taken us almost a year, and we’ve sort of bottomed out.”
In a January 29 column, titled “Unemployment Is Rising Again and It Could Be Even Worse Than the Numbers Say,” Floss said the economy may bounce back as it does following a normal recession—if people are vaccinated.
“As long as we can get the vaccines out and people back to school and things like that, I think we’ll do fairly well,” he said.
And in a January 31 piece titled “Buffalo Niagara Will Be Different after COVID-19. Are We Ready to Turn Change into Opportunity?” Floss said the financial sector may be an area of opportunity for the region.
“I think the one place that may very well lead us is the financial sector, with M&T Bank and some of those folks bringing back jobs from other parts of the country,” Floss said.
Floss was also included in two Investigative Post articles in December. Speaking about the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to Western New York, Floss said that despite the potential impact from aid to lower-wage workers—who are more likely to spend than invest—the program design in fact favored larger companies and professionals.
“If you give the money to individuals who don’t have a lot of money—the lower-paid workers—they’re going to spend more of it,” Floss said. “That’s going to have the biggest economic impact.”
The Buffalo News has turned to Floss for expert insight into the economy throughout the pandemic. In pieces in November and December 2020, Floss commented on the local economy being at a crossroads, the economic strain of going from a “yellow” zone to an “orange” zone, how long it may take for the economy to get back to normal, and the second wave of job cuts that accompanied the second wave of COVID-19 in the area.