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Iowa economist explains how Omicron could impact business

"It may make the inflation rates stay a little bit higher for a little bit longer time," said Dave Swenson, a professor and economist at Iowa State University.

JOHNSTON, Iowa — The economic impact after COVID-19 hit is currently in a slow, prolonged recovery process.

But with the new Omicron variant, that could potentially lead to a slower recovery time and interrupt industries that were trying to make a comeback, according to Dave Swenson, an economist and professor at Iowa State University.

One of the industries he noted it could impact is the travel industry. 

Jody Valentine, a wedding navigator for Allied travel, said the virus was devastating for her industry. From March of 2020 to Fall of 2020, things were slow before picking back up.

"It's definitely better this year," Valentine said. "I would say maybe our business is down 60 percent versus 95 percent from 2021 to 2020."

However, when the Delta variant began to spread, she noticed an increase in people canceling trips due to people being worried while others did not want to deal with vaccination cards

With certain countries putting in a travel ban right now because of the Omicron variant, it could cause more trouble for her industry and business. 

"We've kind of gotten used to at this point, going with the flow and knowing that if we book a trip for someone chances are pretty good that those people may end up deciding to cancel," Valentine said. 

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Swenson told Local 5 if the new variant is similar to how the Delta variant was, it could slow down the recovery the economy was seeing even more. 

"It may make the inflation rates stay a little bit higher for a little bit longer time because again we very well may see a disruption in the movement of critical input production," he said. "It can have an effect on business activity worldwide, which then again starts to slow our or interferes with or flow of goods."

Financial advisor Loren Merkle believes this could be the time for people to think smart about their money. 

With the stock market dipping on Black Friday after talks of the new variant, and then going back up, if a person wants to invest, he thinks now is a time to be safe.

"There's a number of different safe investments that people can look at. You can look at CD's or structured notes," Merkle said.

Swenson said if Omicron does impact the supply chain, expect longer wait times for goods than people are seeing now.

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WATCH: New omicron COVID-19 variant detected in South Africa raising concern (Nov. 26, 2021)

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