Sept. 15, 2020

How a birth bust could bust the economy

We’re on track to experience up to 500,000 fewer births than usual in the U.S. next year, according to economists from the Brookings Institute. You can blame two things—surely you’ve gotten pretty good at it by now: it’s because of Covid-19 and the ensuing recession.

Turns out, birth rates and the economy are deeply intertwined. We have more children when the economy grows. But when it shrinks (like it is now)...the opposite happens.

Today on Business Casual, Dr. Melissa Kearney will explain how we got here, what it means, and how we move forward. She’s the econ professor you’ll actually want to listen to.

If you...1) want a peek at what our economy might look like in the coming decades 2) want to understand why birth rates are the root of all problems and all solutions in our economy and 3) want to learn where the government factors into our decisions to make babies...

Listen now.


Kinsey Grant, Morning Brew business editor and podcast host [00:00:08] Hey, everybody, and welcome to Business Casual. It's me, Kinsey Grant, and it is the perfect day to learn something new. So, let's get into it. [sound of a ding]

Kinsey [00:00:19] There are some economic and demographic issues so pressing that not even setting the mood with a full-bodied Cab and some candles and a little Marvin Gaye can fix them. One of those issues: the impending birth bust here in the United States. Anyone who thought that we would see a surge in babies born about nine months from when this pandemic lockdown began are, simply put, wrong. Turns out there actually were better things to do, like stress about a recession and a global health crisis. 

Kinsey [00:00:49] And I know this isn't "Call Her Daddy," but I'm pretty sure contracting GDP and a pandemic without an end date in sight don't exactly put people in the mood to procreate. And that's why we're about to face a baby bust, with 300,000 to 500,000 fewer births predicted next year, according to the Brookings Institution. That means more than just fewer kindergartners named Asher with a silent W come 2025. 

Kinsey [00:01:15] That decline in babies born is big enough to affect GDP. A baby bust has enormous economic impacts. Think about it. A world with more 65-year-olds than 5-year-olds has very different needs, and needs we might not be able to handle right now. So today, let's explore what a decline in birth rates means for the economy and vice versa. I am excited to welcome Dr. Melissa Kearney, one of the authors of that Brookings report I mentioned just a few seconds ago, Melissa, welcome to Business Casual. 

Melissa Kearney, professor at the University of Maryland [00:01:44] Thank you for having me. 

Kinsey [00:01:45] I'm excited to talk today. You are also a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings, professor in the econ department at the University of Maryland. And you've been widely cited this summer, as this report has taken off and picked up steam. People have been really jazzed to talk about a birth bust. I think partially because it sounds a little scary to say birth bust. 

Melissa [00:02:03] Yeah, we were surprised, I have to say, at how much this piece resonated. We just felt compelled to write it. I guess that's our job as dismal scientists, as economists are known. When all of these cute stories were coming out predicting a spike of births, as you referred to, we sort of had a pretty strong sense from the evidence on how birth rates move with economic and social conditions that that was not what was going to happen. And so we put out this piece and it struck a counter-narrative nerve. And so, yeah, people have picked it up and have wondered if we're right. Will we really see this large of a decrease in births following this crisis. 

Kinsey [00:02:44] Right. And the decrease that you guys are predicting here is pretty large. When we think about 300,000 to few hundred thousand fewer births, can we put that in context? What does that mean in the broader landscape of, you know, how many births would we usually have? 

Melissa [00:02:57] So it's a really large decrease. That's a 10% drop. And you usually don't see anything like that in an annual basis. If anything, I'll be honest, I think our estimate might be conservative, given just the many dramatic, different changes that are happening right now. So, yes, 300 to 500,000 is very large. A 10% drop in an annual basis is extremely large, given the typical variation year to year. But I really think this is quite possible. And the birth decrease might even be larger. 

Melissa [00:03:33] Now, one important contextual thing to put around this is that not all of those births will go away forever. So some of it might be temporary. So there are people who might have gotten pregnant this year who, given the current situation, will decide to delay. And so this sort of 10% reduction in births that we're predicting for next year, some of that might be offset by delayed births and an increase in subsequent years. But I do think there's reason to think that a significant chunk of those births will just never happen. 

Kinsey [00:04:10] So, a 10% drop in anything, I think it's worth noting in econ, is a large number. [laughs] That is not a number to just toss around. 10% of anything would be something to pay attention to. Especially when we're talking about the number of people that we might have joining us here in whatever 2020 is [laughs] 

Kinsey [00:04:28] But the concept of temporary versus delayed, I think, is really interesting, especially in light of the fact that we read all these reports about millennials putting off having children and starting families and putting off all these other decisions because of a whole host of factors that are impacting that specific generation. We think about this specific birth bust that you guys wrote about—this 300,000 to 500,000 maybe conservative estimate. What are the biggest factors contributing to this prediction? 

Melissa [00:04:55] OK, good. So the largest factor contributing is the economic downturn and the increase in the unemployment rate. So that's the basis of our prediction, really. So we looked back at the Great Recession and the experience of the Great Recession. And at that time, there was a large increase in unemployment. And in subsequent years, you saw a large decrease in births. 

Melissa [00:05:18] Now it's, you know, one always wants to be cautious, drawing conclusions from changes over time. But so what we did was looked across states during the Great Recession. And what you see is that some states had much larger increases in unemployment than others. And those states had subsequent larger decreases in births. And so we statistically relate the increase in unemployment to the decrease in births. 

Melissa [00:05:45] And what we find is that a one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 1% reduction in the birth rate. And so that's really the main factor driving our estimate. We looked at the different estimates out there from nonpartisan sources for what we should expect the increase in unemployment is in the U.S. over this year. And unfortunately, it looks like, the large increase in unemployment from February to June isn't going away anytime soon. 

Melissa [00:06:17] And so a reasonable gauge is that there'll be a 10 percentage point increase in unemployment this year. Using this statistical estimate, like the statistical relationship that we estimated, that's where we get a 10% reduction estimate. And then, given all the other stuff going around, [laughs] which we could talk about, we sort of up that estimate and suggest that the effect is, you know, might be as high as 500,000 fewer births because obviously the increase in unemployment rate isn't the only thing we're experiencing right now. 

Kinsey [00:06:49] Right. So let's talk about this other stuff. We have reason to believe, and historical context to believe, that the economy definitely impacts unemployment, impacts the number of births we experience, but also a pandemic has an effect. What kind of effect? 

Melissa [00:07:04] Yeah. So the best we could come up with in sort of modern American history is to look at what happened during the Spanish flu episode in the 1918, in 1919 period. And there are similarities and differences. But what was really interesting to us when we looked back at the data on deaths and births from the Spanish flu period, the two time periods where you see a large increase in deaths, you see like nine months later, a very sizable drop in births. 

Melissa [00:07:34] Specifically, you see a 12.5% decrease in births right after these large increases in deaths owing to influenza and pneumonia, which were the two biggest causes of death from the Spanish flu. So what's really interesting about that is that that public health crisis led to a large decrease in births, even though at the time, the Spanish flu did not lead to a recession the way the COVID crisis did. And people at that time didn't have access to the same forms of modern contraception that people do now. 

Melissa [00:08:08] So controlling one's fertility was much harder back then, and yet you saw this very large birth response. So based on that experience, we're inclined to think that the public health element of this, the stress and anxiety produced by the public health crisis, beyond just the economic crisis, will itself have its own—will induce a reduction in births. 

Kinsey [00:08:31] Right. 

Melissa [00:08:31] One big difference is the Spanish flu had a large mortality effect for people of childbearing age. And the COVID crisis isn't doing that. So the mortality that we're experiencing on account of COVID is not concentrated among people of childbearing age. And so the public health-induced response in births might be smaller, is almost surely smaller, than the public health-induced response of the Spanish flu. 

Kinsey [00:08:56] And even if it wasn't as bad as the Spanish flu, this is still two big things, two big factors that are compounding right now into sort of a one-two punch for birth rates. 

Melissa [00:09:07] Yeah, totally. And the reason I said that our estimate might even be conservative is because there's other stuff that we had no basis from which to draw additional estimates. So, for example, school closures. [laughs] That's not happened before. So we have no idea what it does to couples' fertility when kids are home all day long. We don't have to go too far into anecdotes to know that parents are very stressed right now. 

Melissa [00:09:37] And so [laughs] even when those cute stories came out about how, oh, people are in quarantine and locked down, we're going to see a spike in births. Everyone I know who had kids at home was like, yeah, those will only be first births. [Kinsey laughs] But there is actually something to be said for the fact that everyone's home now with their kids. So couples who were thinking about this might be a great year to bring a baby into the house, you could think that there's additional reasons why people are delaying or abandoning those plans. 

Kinsey [00:10:05] Absolutely. And also, you think about the people who haven't coupled off to have a child with someone. [laughs] My sister is 30. I'm 25. We joke all the time that these are our good years. [laughs]

Melissa [00:10:15] Yeah. 

Kinsey [00:10:16] These were the years that you're supposed to start meeting the people that you might consider having a kid with. And I'm not dating like I used to be. And she's not either. And it's a really weird time. Everybody's kind of being put on hold. And I guess that also brings up your point earlier, that for some of us, it's put on hold. For some of us, plans are completely scrapped. 

Melissa [00:10:35] Yeah, that's right. And there have been some surveys done, both in the U.S. and Europe, of 18 to 34-year-olds and just asking them how the pandemic is affecting their planning. And you see that young people are saying this is causing me to delay or this is causing me to abandon childbearing plans. But your other point about young people who haven't coupled off yet. I think there is a lot of interesting speculation we could do about, you know, we will see a reduction in births among married people with kids. 

Melissa [00:11:04] We will see a reduction in births among married people, even if they don't have kids, but, you know, if someone lost their job, and that's a very stressful time, we will see a reduction in unplanned, unintentional births that came from young couples who would have just met at a bar and gotten together. And those kinds of interactions are not happening now to the same degree given social isolation mandates and quarantining mandates, etc. 

Kinsey [00:11:31] So let's say in the normal circumstances, the non-2020 circumstances, there are still financial and economic conditions that play into someone's decision to have a child. Can you speak a little more about that, what this would be like in maybe normal times? 

Melissa [00:11:47] Yeah. So we know from a lot of economic evidence that when people get more money, [chuckles] when people feel more economically secure, one of the things they do is have markets. And so in economic terms, people who took econ 101 will remember this, kids are what we call normal goods. When income goes up, your sort of demand to have kids goes up. 

Melissa [00:12:11] Now, that surprises some people because there is the observation that as societies have gotten richer, people have had fewer kids. Or if you look across countries, richer countries tend to have different kids. But there's a lot of confounding factors there. Like people who live in more expensive places, they have more money. But raising kids is more expensive. 

Melissa [00:12:33] And so the evidence that I'm thinking of is really well-identified evidence that says when somebody gets a positive income shock or when somebody gets a negative income shock, we see their subsequent fertility respond. So I'll give you a couple examples. So there's a couple of papers. One, I wrote with a colleague, another written—an unrelated paper written by two colleagues, that's two different economists came to the same conclusion—the housing boom led to what you might call a baby boom among homeowners. 

Melissa [00:13:06] So people who owned a home and saw their house prices appreciate, just because house prices were rising nationally, they were more likely to have more kids. And in fact, in our work, we found that renters who didn't face that sort of home equity/home wealth increase but faced a higher price of housing—which is a large cost associated with kids—renters had fewer kids, homeowners had more kids as a result of the increase in house prices. 

Melissa [00:13:34] We also knew from lots of different studies that when a husband loses his job, his wife subsequently has fewer kids as compared to a couple that otherwise looks observationally similar, that doesn't experience a male job loss. So we know these kinds of things that, like prices associated with raising kids reduces the number of kids we see born, and increases in income—everything else sort of held constant—lead to more kids being born. 

Kinsey [00:14:06] Melissa, I want to talk about the actual economic dollar impact that this birth bust has on the economy in general. We're gonna do that, but first, a short break to hear from our partner. — 

Kinsey [00:14:19] And now back to the conversation with Dr. Melissa Kearney. So, Melissa, we talked about how we come out on the other side of this, whether or not these births are just being put off or if they're not happening altogether. What is the economic impact of all of that? Is there a way of measuring that? Can we put a price tag, to speak bluntly, on all of these births not happening? 

Melissa [00:14:40] Yeah, I mean, look, we're pretty unromantic in the way we approach it. But I think even I don't have [laughs] an actual price tag to put on it. I mean, I could articulate what I think of as the costs, though I've never tried to actually put a dollar amount on them. So the first cost, which a lot of people will bear on a very personal and individual level, is that there will be couples who just don't have sort of the number of kids or the family size that they would have wanted to have. 

Melissa [00:15:10] So there's a personal loss there. And some of that will be because people delay childbearing and then biology gets in the way and they never are able to have those kids that they wanted to have. Other people, who already have a child and wanted to have a second or third, now their financial and economic situation is sufficiently insecure. It might not recover anytime soon, if ever. Which is very sad. 

Melissa [00:15:38] But that's sort of a reasonable thing to worry about, given what we know on how job loss is persistent. Those folks just might not have the number of kids they wanted. So that's a personal loss. On a society level, you mentioned this in your opening remarks, which is exactly spot on. An aging population is a challenge both for public finances and for economic growth. 

Melissa [00:16:03] So an aging population, where a larger share of your population is above the age of 65, you know, of retirement age, means a generally less robust, dynamic economy. So as our population aging tilts away from the young, away from a future workforce towards a more older population, that doesn't only depress overall productivity, but it also puts a burden on social insurance systems. 

Melissa [00:16:33] So a very concrete example that countries worry about and have to deal with is programs like Social Security. The fewer workers you have to support each beneficiary in retirement puts a strain on the financial solvency of that kind of program. So this is why people really actually worry about the economic and public finance implications of declining birth rates and a population aging. 

Kinsey [00:17:00] I think so often we can be really short-sighted when we're talking about the business news cycle in general. But this is a story that really stopped me in my tracks, thinking about this is going to be decades from now problem too. [laughs] It's not like this is just going to go away. This is something that is going to be an after fact of COVID and this recession for a very, very long time, right? 

Melissa [00:17:22] I think that's right. I think that, you know, this gets back to when you said, wow, this report attracted a fair bit of attention. I think maybe because there were so many things people were worrying about in light [laughs] of this COVID crisis, you're like, oh, my gosh, I didn't even think to worry about the demographic implications. 

Melissa [00:17:39] But this is a very, you know, a potentially very real issue. What can we do about it? Well, this is hard too. As we discussed, fertility rates and birth rates have been decreasing. So one thing that countries try to do to address this—well, the first thing they could do to make up for an aging population is encourage immigration. Bringing in immigrants to work and pay taxes is one way to make up for fewer native workers. 

Melissa [00:18:04] But explicitly to target birth rates, countries do pursue, in varying degrees, what are referred to as pro-natalist policies. So there are certainly examples of countries that have actually paid, like, bonuses to families who've had a first child. And that bonus will even be higher if it's a second child or a third child. In the U.S., we do this a bit, like with things like the child tax credit. You don't think of that necessarily as pro-natalist, but it is reducing the cost of having a kid because you get a credit on your taxes. 

Melissa [00:18:41] And so that's actually a pro-kid, [chuckles] pro-natalist policy. Another way that government policy can try to counteract the declining birth rate is to make it less costly for parents, I'll say moms in particular, to try and combine rearing kids with working. So, you know, more generous subsidies for childcare, more generous parental leave policies, more generous family leave policies. These things are sort of like pro-kid, pro-family. 

Melissa [00:19:15] Now, a sort of sobering note on that is Scandinavia had long been pointed to as a place where the women there had the highest rates of labor force participation and high fertility rates. And this sort of standard explanation was, well, those are societies where the norms are different. Both men and women seem to contribute more equally to the sort of childcare household production. And there's a very generous welfare state with subsidized government provided or paid for childcare, et cetera. 

Melissa [00:19:46] But, in recent years, even Scandinavian countries have seen their birth rates fall. So how much we could actually counteract declining birth rates or counteract the discreet reduction in birth rates we're likely to see after this crisis, it's not obvious that there's any clear sort of policy lever we can pull and expect large results. 

Kinsey [00:20:13] So two questions. First, do we have any reason of understanding why we've experienced lower fertility rates in Scandinavian countries? Is there any sort of conjecture as to what caused that? 

Melissa [00:20:26] I haven't seen anything that sort of makes me think, aha! That's the explanation. So the general things that people speculate about as to why we see decreasing birthrates across places is stressors on families' economic confidence, to use your [chuckles] word or increased career opportunities for women that might run counter to family goals. Improved contraceptive technology that makes it easier for people to have fewer children if that's what they choose. There are a lot of sort of universal trends, that it's really hard to sort of empirically tease out and say, aha, that's what it is. 

Kinsey [00:21:12] Right. 

Melissa [00:21:13] I should say one positive note on the decline in birth rates in the U.S. is the largest decreases in birth rates have been for teenagers and women under the age of 20. So the decline in teen birth since the mid-1990s is nothing short of spectacular in the U.S., and most people would say that that's been a good thing. 

Melissa [00:21:34] Older women are having more kids than they used to. You pointed this out. People are delaying childbirth, but the rate at which older women are having kids just doesn't offset the rate at which teens and younger women are having fewer kids. And that's why, on net, our fertility rate has decreased. 

Kinsey [00:21:52] OK. Second big question. Is it realistic to expect that we could change our infrastructure to support this aging society fast enough to actually, meaningfully support it here in the United States? Do you think that the changes could be made, that we could ensure the people get the support they need regardless of how old they are? 

Melissa [00:22:13] Are you asking me if I think we could shore up Social Security with an aging population? [laughs] This podcast just took a turn I wasn't expecting. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I worry about a shrinking workforce. I worry about an aging population. I also worry about, just even among people age 18 to 45, decreasing employment rates among them. 

Melissa [00:22:41] So, I would prefer to see a larger investment in boosting employment rates and boosting the productivity of our workforce. The only other option, if you want to maintain the level of sort of entitlement spending we have right now on those aged 65 and over, is, I mean, if you want to maintain those benefits, is really to increase taxes on the shrinking workforce. 

Kinsey [00:23:07] Which I can imagine would go over like a lead balloon. 

Melissa [00:23:11] [laughs] Right. I mean, at some point we're just stuck between a rock and a hard place, and we have to make hard choices. 

Kinsey [00:23:16] Yeah, well, [laughs] you definitely are getting more than you bargained for here on this [Melissa laughs] budget as well. [laughs] We're going to take a short break to hear from our sponsor. And we will be right back. —

Kinsey [00:23:28] OK. And now back to the conversation with Melissa Kearney. So, Melissa, a lot of what we've been talking about is the worrisome aspect of this phenomenon. We have a lot of problems. This is introducing a lot of problems. I have to wonder, though, if there might be maybe a little bit of a silver lining. You think about some of the side effects, if you will, of this demographic shift. 

Kinsey [00:23:47] One of them that I've read about is smaller class sizes. We know for a fact that that leads to better outcomes for students. So can we look—is it fair to look at some of these silver linings and say, you know, maybe it's not all that bad? Maybe we just have to adjust our expectations? 

Melissa [00:24:02] So, look, I'm all for looking for silver linings during the pandemic [laughs] when everything feels bleak. I'm desperately looking for silver linings. So, I will grant that, if what we see in five years, fewer kids getting to kindergarten and they have fewer class size for those kids, that's a good thing. Ultimately, I think it's pretty tragic if what has to happen for us to get small class sizes in public schools is for a whole bunch of people to not be able to afford the number of kids they'd like to have. That's a pretty hard silver lining for me to swallow. 

Kinsey [00:24:40] Yeah, that makes sense. What about other countries? Hasn't a similar shift happened in other countries before? I read about Japan and Russia have experienced similar demographic shifts. Are there any lessons as we address this worrisome [chuckles] trend in the United States that we can take from that? 

Melissa [00:24:56] So, right, the U.S. is certainly not the first country to see declining birth rates. Some of the stuff we were talking about earlier, like the pro-natalist policies that countries could pursue. You know, my understanding, and I'm not an expert on the Japanese situation, but my understanding, from what I've read, is that Japan has been trying some of those types of things, like childcare credits, et cetera. And my sense, again, is that it's been met with limited success. 

Melissa [00:25:23] I think probably the most foolproof way that countries have made up for their shrinking populations is by allowing greater levels of immigration. Which, again, as you pointed out, you know, in a different element of this conversation, there's all sorts of choices that society and the voting public has to make. How do we want to address our challenges? 

Kinsey [00:25:50] So we talk about the immigration conversation in the United States. And maybe I'm asking you to [laughs] answer a different podcast question again. [Melissa laughs] But do you think that enough people recognize that that's part of the immigration conversation? This was frankly new to me until I started preparing for this interview. That that could be a possible solution to this problem. 

Melissa [00:26:08] Oh, that's interesting. In that case, again, maybe not, right? That, you know, if your population is aging, there's only really two ways to increase the size of people you have coming up who are going to join the workforce. And that's to have more kids or allow more young people into the country. 

Kinsey [00:26:26] So but, immigration specifically, it takes money to support immigrants when they do come to this country. So, I mean, I guess I'm just trying to get the full picture of how much of an impact immigration actually can have, especially in the United States, given the political climate in the last, let's say, four years. It's very different. 

Melissa [00:26:47] That is a very important question. Which, again, to your credit, you were pushing me in all sorts of interesting directions, and I don't have the stats in front of me. But in general, I think it's more accurate to think of immigrants as net contributors to our economy. And it is true that some of them get here and rely on public support when they get here. But, off the top of my head, the studies that I've seen of this suggest that in general, they quickly become net contributors. 

Kinsey [00:27:18] OK. So in terms of looking forward, as we try to recover from all of this, is there any indication as to how long this birth bust will last? Your prediction has been for the next year. But do we have any sort of crystal ball way of predicting when we might get back to some semblance of what would be considered normal pre-COVID? 

Melissa [00:27:39] So we only did sort of an annual estimate. And if we did this in a more dynamic sense and we predicted the decline in births over the next five years, let's say, our number would have been larger. It is all going to depend on how quickly the economy recovers, and given where we are now, I'm just not that optimistic. I mean, personally, I am surprised we still are where we are. 

Melissa [00:28:10] And part of that is, you know, I'll be honest, I am surprised that we didn't more aggressively attack the public health crisis as a nation, you know, to put a very fine point on it. I can't believe we're in September, and kids across the country are not going back to school. If you asked me in March, I would have never thought we'd be in this position where the virus was still actively spreading. 

Melissa [00:28:36] And so as long as we don't have the public health crisis under control, it's hard for me to be optimistic that the economy is going to rebound as quickly as I think most of us would like. And so the longer and deeper this recession lasts, the larger and more persistent the demographic changes and the decrease in birth rates will be. 

Kinsey [00:29:04] Right. The rebound is so important to recognize that, early on, even in interviews I was doing in March, people's expectation was, you know, I may be out of a job for a couple of months, but I'll be back. I'll get hired back. 

Melissa [00:29:17] Right. 

Kinsey [00:29:17] And that hasn't been the reality that's actually happened. A lot of these job losses haven't just been temporary, they've been permanent job losses. 

Melissa [00:29:24] Yeah, there's a sort of sobering study that came from Nick Bloom, an economist at Stanford, and some colleagues recently that estimate that 40% of these job losses will be permanent. We know from other studies, prior to this crisis, this economic crisis, that individuals who lose their jobs, even when they go back to work, they often suffer a sort of lifetime decrease in earnings. 

Melissa [00:29:51] So just meaning someone who loses their job, even when they're re-employed, often take a lower wage. And so if someone's economic security or income is sort of now permanently lowered, all of the challenges and consequences that come with that will be experienced. 

Kinsey [00:30:10] I love that one of my biggest takeaways from this conversation with you, Melissa, has been that so often, having a child feels deeply personal. This feels like a personal decision that you make either by yourself or with a partner. But there are so many factors that are actually pretty scientific, and government policy [laughs] and the people we vote into office, the priorities that they have, also kind of speak to our decisions. 

Kinsey [00:30:32] Maybe not directly, and we might not necessarily recognize it for at face value, but it's interesting that it's not just, I'm going to have a baby. It's there are a lot of factors that I didn't really decide on. But they are impacting my decision to have a child or not. 

Melissa [00:30:48] Yeah. You know what I love about you saying that is this is why economists are always skeptical when we ask people, like in surveys, like why didn't you have a kid? You might not have said because childcare is hard to come by and parental leave policies aren't widespread. But somewhere in the back of your mind, you have decided, look, the benefits and costs of having a kid by seeing people around you, etc., and so you've made that decision. 

Melissa [00:31:17] We don't think people are sitting down solving the mathematical equations that we write down to describe their behavior. But at some level, they're making decisions that we can sort of represent in a parsimonious way in terms of costs and benefits. 

Kinsey [00:31:33] All right. [laughs] This has been so much fun. I have really loved having this conversation and talking about something that I think, and I hope, a lot of our listeners are getting new insight on what might not always be the number one top economic issue that we think about when we think impacts of COVID on the economy. But absolutely is important. 

Kinsey [00:31:52] So, Melissa, I really appreciate your transparency and your willingness to let me push you [laughter] in this conversation into everything from Social Security to immigration to also accidental or not-so-accidental pregnancies. So thank you so much. I had a blast, and I really appreciate you taking the time. 

Melissa [00:32:08] Thanks so much. This was great fun. 

Kinsey [00:32:17] Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Business Casual. That conversation with Melissa felt like a really solid dinner table conversation. So I implore you to do that. Take it to your dinner table. 

Kinsey [00:32:28] Talk to your friends and your family about all of the plans that you might have had that got put on hold because of COVID-19 and the ensuing recession. I'll see you next time. [sound of a ding]