NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Y2K Worries Experts More Than Public

June 10, 1999

Professionals dealing directly with the Year 2000 computer bug are much more pessimistic than the general public, according to a survey conducted Bruce Webster, co-chair of the Washington, D.C., Year 2000 Group.

  • About 45 percent of experts think the Y2K problem is going to have a significant impact, another 45 percent think it's going to be "a bump in the road" -- and 10 percent think it's going to be "the end of the world as we know it."
  • USA Today polls in March found that 65 percent of the public expected minor problems and 12 percent expected no problems.
  • Among the experts, 38 percent expect a 20 percent loss in stocks and recovery by 2001, and 45 percent expect a mild six-month recession with 6 percent unemployment.
  • Some 40 percent predict at least "short-lived failures" of utilities and infrastructure lasting up to seven days -- while 42 percent expect scattered supply and utility problems lasting at least two weeks.

Major manufacturing disruptions are predicted by 28 percent of the experts, and 35 percent predict business will be "jolted a bit."

Nineteen percent predict one state government will run into serious problems, and 30 percent expect at least one major government agency -- such as the Internal Revenue Service -- will fail.

White House Y2K "czar" John Koskinen says that no one can tell with any certainty what will happen "because so much work is still underway."

Source: M.J. Zuckerman, "45 Percent of Y2K Experts Worried," USA Today, June 10, 1999.


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