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CREW Charlotte November Luncheon: Economic Outlook: The New Crystal Ball
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CREW Charlotte November Luncheon: Economic Outlook: The New Crystal Ball

CREW Charlotte November Luncheon: Economic Outlook: The New Crystal Ball

Submitted by Amy Massey, PE, Kimley-Horn

It was a pleasure for CREW Charlotte to have Laura Ullrich, PhD, speak at our November 10th virtual luncheon. Laura, who serves as regional economist at the Charlotte branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, provided an overview of past, current, and potential future economic conditions on both the national and regional levels. Much of Laura’s informative presentation focused on recovery trends in light of changing economic projections for 2020 and beyond compared with what had been expected in late 2019 and even early 2020 due to COVID-19.

With Laura’s primary research focus areas being in higher education, school finance reform, local and state-level tax and expenditure analyses, welfare policy, and the economic impact of local development– all of which are factors in this recovery effort– it is apparent that all sectors have been affected. However, the impacts are not being felt the same in every sector, geographic area, or population demographic. Examples of the hardest-hit and perhaps longer-lead recovery elements would be the hospitality sector, dense urban areas, and lower-income individuals.

Whereas SC is faring slightly better than NC in recovery progress, both Carolinas have more positive momentum than the US overall. Very large metro areas (i.e. NYC) are seeing trends of outflux to smaller metro areas (i.e. Charlotte); however, larger central business districts in the Carolinas (i.e. Charlotte, Raleigh) are seeing a bigger impact due to the lack of office workers, business travel, and the associated trickle effect into other associated sectors. In general, jobs are coming back; just at a slower pace as we continue forward.

Moving on, there are looming questions of how the colder weather will impact us and the economy especially looking at Europe and the unfortunate re-shut-downs happening there. But the recent bright spot with positive vaccine news brings fresh hope in terms of improving our health, happiness, and of course economic recovery in returning to ‘normal’ sooner rather than later.

Click here for Laura's presentation.

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