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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Idaho Spending Trends Forecast COVID Spike

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JP{ Morgan Chase
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As people started spending more at restaurants during phases of reopening, credit card data appears to forecast an increase of new COVID-19 cases, and Idaho is at the top of that trend.

JP Morgan Chase says data from its 30 million credit and debit card users show consumer spending is back to within about 10% of normal, after a decline of more than 40% at the end of March. Jesse Edgerton is a senior economist and executive director at Chase.

“States where spending in general was higher, where economic activity was higher two to four weeks ago, " said JP Morgan Chase Senior Economist and Executive Director Jesse Edgerton, "those are definitely more likely to be states where the virus has been spreading more rapidly over the last couple of weeks since then.”

In Idaho, the link between increases in spending at restaurants and bars three weeks ago, and the growth of new cases now is stronger than any other state in the country. Data show the opposite trend in states where grocery store spending remains higher than normal.

“It more might be that high levels of restaurant spending are correlated with going to parties or going to bars, or just sort of reopening the economy to a greater degree that we can’t really measure in our data,” Edgerton said.

Edgerton said one surprise in the data was a clear intersection between virus hotspots like Arizona, Texas and Florida, and hotter temperatures in those states. If that correlation holds, he said rising consumer spending in places like Kansas, Indiana and Missouri indicates those areas might be next to see a spike in coronavirus cases.

Follow Troy Oppie on Twitter @GoodBadOppie for more local news.

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