By Jayashree Nandi

Economists and environmental experts at the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago (EPIC) have started documenting the initial signs of a massive economic slowdown resulting from the coronavirus disease pandemic — closure of industries, shops and restaurants and a dip in power consumption, and an unintended benefit — a decline in pollution.

Historically, electricity consumption has proven to be a “reliable, early indicator” of broader economic trends, the team at EPIC said. This time, too, the institution’s data tracker shows a 1.71% dip in electricity consumption in the US, European Union, China and India in January 15-April 4 period combined, compared to December.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has forced governments around the world to impose tough restrictions on daily life to prevent the spread of the virus. With these restrictions, roads and airports are nearly empty, shops and restaurants are closed, and industrial activities are largely at a halt. In this environment, real-time information about economic activity is at a premium, but often hard to acquire,” EPIC said in a statement on Monday.

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Areas of Focus: COVID-19COVID-19