Day 4 (Monday, March 16th)
It's bad enough we have the Coronavirus scaring people to death. This oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia is simply gravy on top of the taters. A lot of consumers are elated. Here in Tampa, gas is under $2/gallon. I like paying less for gas, and since the only work I am doing involves lots of driving, it's certainly saving me money. Problem is, the oil industry in the U.S. can't produce cheap oil like Russia and the Middle East can. If prices don't go up, a lot of companies are going to go bankrupt.
On Monday I woke up to news the Las Vegas strip is starting to close. MGM is closing all its strip casinos. Last night the Fed cut interest rates to zero. Trump was happy. The stock markets? Not so much. Watching CNBC, futures were down so much that trading was going to be halted at the opening of markets today. What started with just my industry being affected is now spreading to many other industries. Fortunately for others, most of those are W-2 positions which will qualify them for unemployment. Most of my meeting work is 1099, so probably no relief in sight for the thousands of workers in the events industry.
It's weird that so many places are closed, but I'm sure it's helping people keep money in their pockets. Wonder how this will affect the Orlando economy. Is Disney going to keep paying its hourly employees? What about all the hotels that depend on tourism? How are all these companies going to stay solvent without revenues? I don't think a couple weeks will spell disaster. It will be super ugly, but not Armageddon. Much longer than that and we could see Great Depression Volume 2.
Financial markets were in freefall again today. The Dow closed with just shy of a 3,000 point loss, and the biggest percentage drop since Black Monday in 1987. It's a crazy world!