Central New York’s economy should recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by mid or late 2021, according to one regional economist.
Every year, M&T Bank Regional Economist Gary Keith digs into national and regional economic trends and predicts what the year will bring. In 2020, he was bullish, noting four years of income growth in central New York. But then the pandemic hit. Eighty-six thousand jobs were lost as well as $2 billion dollars in spending. The region has recaptured only 40,000 of those jobs and still struggles, especially in the hospitality and trade sectors.
"Right now we are not seeing enough of a lift to say we’ve made it through,” Keith said. “But I expect this to start to change in the coming months as we make a concerted effort to get vaccinations out and in arms.”
The good news, said Keith, is the momentum in place before the pandemic, can be corralled again.
"We saw the progress we made, so we know it works,” Keith said. “That should steel us to getting through the pandemic, getting back on track, and making those plans work for us.”
Keith said there are still plenty of challenges for local businesses; attracting and keeping highly-skilled labor, continued increases of materials and supplies and a lack of face-to-face marketing. But Keith suggests central New York is primed to take advantage of the post-pandemic economy.
"Many people can work from anywhere now,” Keith said. “If those folks are looking at central New York as a landing spot to work remotely, we need to be ready to capture some of that activity. We need to look at it as an affirmation that we have things to offer.”