Economists’ Roundtable: Year in Review

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The COVID-19 pandemic played havoc with just about every sector of the state’s economy. ASU economists Dennis Hoffman and Mark Stapp along with Jim Rounds of Rounds Consulting, look back on the wreckage and the struggle to recover, along with a look ahead at what to expect for next year. 

COVID-19 greatly impacted hospitality sector

Coming off the best year of tourism for Arizona in 2019, the hospitality sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. With mitigation efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19, businesses with potential large gatherings were given restrictions.

Hoffman: “[Arizona’s economy is] doing remarkably well in light of all the wounds in this wonderful year of 2020 so we can’t wait till 2021. There’s weak spots: hospitality, restaurant and bar, any other employment endeavor that supports large gatherings is simply not happening right now. The overall economy is doing pretty well thanks primarily to significant stimulus injections from the federal government the last couple of months.”

Rounds: “The economy as a whole, we’re still top 3 among states across the country in terms of retaining jobs. There’s a lot of small business being impacted, we have the tourism industry suffering, and I think we need to have some economic recovery packages going forward much like we did when we had to learn from our economic foundation that was a little more fragile after the Great Recession.”

Stapp: “Both the good and the bad, they affect the real estate side of this equation. Especially when you’re looking at hospitality, because we’re a big hospitality destination, food and beverage and entertainment. That was what was one of the big drivers of our urbanization here were those three factors creating these experience kind of spaces. All three of them got hit badly and so we’ve seen significant shifts and some patterns.”

Dennis Hoffman, ASU Economist
Jim Rounds, Economist, Rounds Consulting
Mark Stapp, ASU Real Estate Economist

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