The annual Economic Outlook event featuring renowned economist Dr. Terry Clower proved once again to be a dynamic, educational and informative talk, in spite of the fact that it was held virtually for the first time. Close to 200 participants tuned in to hear Dr. Clower’s thoughts and forecasts for the regional and national economy. The event was co-sponsored by Atlantic Union Bank.
The pandemic is naturally front and center in everyone’s thoughts. Dr. Clower began by offering some insight into the unemployment picture — across the country and in our area — and expressing great concern for the many who have lost their jobs and livelihoods. Not surprisingly, the Leisure and Hospitality market has been the hardest hit. Dr. Clower also offered somewhat surprising insight into unemployment in healthcare (even in the midst of a healthcare crisis) noting that these job losses are high due to the fact that elective surgeries, a large revenue stream, were stalled for many months.
Dr. Clower also addressed housing — noting that a robust housing market is vital to a healthy economy, impacting many industries as people spend money before, during and after moves (financial sector, home improvement, retail, etc). The current problem is simply lack of inventory. He shared a personal anecdote: he and his wife recently sold their home. Their buyers lost out on 12 homes prior to finding success.
Other topics addressed included consumer confidence. Though it has taken a hit, it is not as low as anticipated, a bit of good news in an otherwise bleak landscape.
In the Q&A session, Dr. Clower was asked about the influx of people leaving cities, and what he thought would happen in the foreseeable future. He felt the shift would not result in a long-term, significant migration, commenting: “We are social animals. The dynamics of cities, availability of amenities, cities will always draw us in. Cities will always be attractive.”
Other topics addressed included the national debt, remote workforce, 5G and more. To request a copy of the slides and the webinar recording, complete this form.