Workforce Experts Predict Economic Rebound In Second Half Of 2021
Local workforce experts from San Diego's top industries came together virtually Thursday for the 37th Annual Economic Roundtable.
The panel agreed that the COVID-19 recession has been a tale of different realities for San Diegans. Your fortunes differed depending on your race and class and what industry you worked in. But they said we can look forward to some economic rebound in 2021.
According to USD associate professor of economics Ryan Ratcliff, San Diegans’ income bracket and ethnicity played a large role in how they have been economically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If you are in one of these lower income brackets, in one of these communities of color, the experience of the recession has been substantially worse,” he said.
San Diego Tourism Authority COO Kerri Kapich says those who work in the tourism and travel sector have been particularly hard hit.
“We lost about 50% of our revenue as a tourism community and we’ve lost 37% of our jobs in our sector, which here in San Diego is about 77 thousand jobs that have been lost,” Kapich said. “So it's been by far the industry that's been impacted the most through the pandemic.”
While COVID-19 vaccine rollout is now beginning to happen on a larger scale, the economic effects from coronavirus related lockdowns are likely to impact travel and tourism, San Diego’s third largest industry, for years to come.
“At this point in time, we are looking at probably a five year recovery horizon for the travel and tourism sector,” Kapich said. “The longer we have businesses stay closed, the less clarity that we have in terms of how we can operate and what the new guidelines will be, the more difficult it is for businesses to sustain themselves.”
Kapich said that the Tourism Authority and other industry sectors worked with the County’s Reopening Team to submit a proposal on safe operating guidelines in the fall, but have not yet received a response or approval from the state.
But it’s not all bad news for the San Diego economy. Ratcliff predicted that there will be a weak first half of 2021 due to coronavirus related lockdowns, but there will be an “explosion of pent up service/leisure demand,” once COVID-19 vaccinations become widely administered.
Ratcliff even said that there could be years of economic success that follow, which he called “the roaring 2020’s.”