It was fitting the Fourth Annual Economic Forum hosted by the Schar School of Policy and Government’s Stephen S. Fuller Institute was slightly delayed by a fire drill in the building. The entire year, it would seem, has been a fire drill, particularly for those dealing with the national pandemic economy and its incremental recovery.
More than 235 regional business leaders and policymakers tuned into the October 20 forum—presented in a virtual format—for a brisk hour-plus and deeply detailed recap of last year’s economic performance and a look ahead at near-term trends by Jeannette Chapman, director of the Fuller Institute.
View the video of the presentation.
The housing, personal services, and hospitality industries “pretty much fell off a cliff” in March, said Chapman, posting a slide confirming a slow regional recovery compared to the rest of the country.
Employment in the federal government rose 12.5 percent but Chapman warned those were census workers “and you can pretty much ignore this number.” Otherwise, employment numbers continued to tank.
A troubling trend, Chapman said, is the loss of younger workers in the region’s workforce. “It’s a warning sign something isn’t functioning the way it used to,” she said. Overall, employment figures won’t begin to climb to historic familiarity until 2023, but that is dependent on the development and deployment of a vaccine for COVID-19.