Expect More Volatile Days on Wall Street: Local Economist

A local economist who's been observing Connecticut and its fiscal health for decades said the recent plunge on Wall Street isn't anything he hasn't seen before.

"This is sort of like the decline we saw in 1987. It was sharp, short-lived," said economist and West Hartford Town Manager Ron Van Winkle. "If it should continue, the 87 decline was a remarkable event but the market put itself back together, recovered, and continued to grow."

Van Winkle was initially hired in 1979 as economist for Pratt and Whitney and has provided economic analysis ever since.

"This isn’t over yet. The market continues through this week. We’ll see how they do, whether they stabilize or don’t. There is no one who knows where the market will be on Friday so we’ll see," he said.

The Dow Jones opened with a free-fall of more than 1,000 points. Two hours later, the market rallied 800 points but it later fell again, ending the day down nearly 600 points.

Van Winkle said there are multiple reasons for the fluctuation and none of them will stabilize any time soon.

"Oil prices, gas prices have fallen below $40 and that’s the lowest since the recession. The Greek economy is obviously in chaos," he said. "It’s hard to see how they’re going to come back. The Middle East hasn’t gotten any better so there's a lot of uncertainty that makes the market very easy to scare."

He added that uncertainty surrounding the Chinese economy may drive future fluctuations.

"Today we’re looking at China having some serious problems, devaluing their currency, seeing exports begin to decline substantially in China. They’re the second biggest economy in the world so when they have problems, everyone else has problems," he said.

Contact Us