Coronavirus: Economist said Solano’s economy is recovering

September 25 2020

By KIMBERLY K. FU | | Vacaville Reporter

PUBLISHED: September 24, 2020 at 9:07 p.m. | UPDATED: September 24, 2020 at 9:08 p.m.

The coronavirus may have done a number on Solano’s economy, but it is bouncing back — albeit slowly, said economist Robert Eyler at Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Solano Economic Development Corporation.

The webinar, all about COVID-19 and the economy, featured Eyler, a professor of economics at Sonoma State University and president of Economic Forensics and Analytics.

Figures from last August to this past August show that Solano’s unemployment is at 10.9 percent, with a loss of 20,200 jobs. The state, meanwhile, registers at 11.4 percent unemployment and a loss of 2.081 million jobs.

As the county’s businesses reopen, figures will change, unemployment will go down and job numbers will rise, he said, adding that figures forecast for 2021 predict progress.

Numbers are already moving upward in areas such as healthcare as they are deemed essential. Reopenings have boosted the figures in retail and other industries, too.

Recovery is slow, he said, because it depends on numerous factors including business stability and a stable labor market.

“The key for us now is whether we can climb out of the hole quickly or not,” he said. “The bottom lie is we got a deep hole dug and it’s gonna take time for us to get out of that.”

The Philadelphia Federal Survey projects growth through 2023. Eyler predicts recovery will take a full five years.

“The Great Recession took about seven years of recovery,” he continued. “This should take about five.”

So many things could impact Solano’s recovery, he said, including movement in Europe’s economy, the upcoming presidential election, even COVID-19.

As businesses reopen, unemployment claims will fall, Eyler added, which could boost the economy as well.

Housing is a bright light, he said, as sales are increasing and initial price listings are rising.

“Generally speaking, this is just good news,” he said.

Attendees worried that the loss of small businesses could mean a loss of community uniqueness, too.

Eyler agreed, saying offerings could become homogenized.

Supervisor Monica Brown questioned the economist on the effect of evictions.

He responded that Gov. Gavin Newsom has extended the moratorium on commercial evictions through March 2021.

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