Business & economy

Coronavirus outbreak could affect Oregon’s economy, including exports

An image of the coronavirus from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The emergence of the coronavirus could put a damper on the unprecedented expansion of the Oregon economy.

A full-blown recession could be on the horizon if the virus disrupts supply chains, keeps workers from their jobs and causes businesses to pull back investment, economists say.

In a recent forecast, state economist Josh Lehner wrote that Oregon’s economy is in good shape with historically low unemployment, low interest rates, accompanied by high business and consumer confidence. But he said the coronavirus could be the strong economy’s undoing.

He referenced research by the Brookings Institution on the economic impact of the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (better known as “SARS”) that began in Asia and spread to 26 countries. According . . .