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COVID-19 resurgence slows Texas economic growth

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-28 19:14:34-05

A daily rise in COVID-19 cases has slowed the growth of the Texas economy, with some feeling the effects more than others.

”Where we see the negative impact is on the service sector. So face-to-face businesses that, you know, rely on people physically being present are the business that are most hurt, and that’s the consumption that’s most negatively affected by the resurgence of the virus,” said Pia Orrenius, the Vice President and Senior Economist with Dallas FED.

COVID-19 is not uncharted territory anymore. As cases rise and the brakes get put back on, there is a heightened sense of caution now to move freely

”With the new cases, it’s like the brakes got put back on again, but I don’t think we're at the place where we were before where it was just everybody was in such shoc. I think that passed, that is over,” said Lisa Gordan, an accounting manager at the LaSalle Hotel.

Vaccine distribution has spread optimism, especially through the hospitality sector, where hotels have hit historical lows

”Certainly, there's hope. I mean, I don’t know what time frame we're looking at, and I don’t know how we... I think we're all at a new place where we don’t know how to measure what to expect. I feel like people are anxious to go back to what normal is, and I think it’s going to be a new normal,” Gordan added.

Currently, millions of Americans are awaiting President Trump's signature to feel financially secure.

”Spending has been moving sideways, so we haven't been seeing any growth in consumer spending. We believe part of that is because of the expiration of the stimulus program that was passed in the spring. We also have the pending expiration of unemployment benefits here at the end of the year,” Orrenius added.

According to studies conducted by the Dallas Fed’s Business Outlook, job growth is directly correlated with the decrease of COVID-19 cases and negatively affected by the increase of hospitalizations.

”You see, record increases in parcel, you know, people in jobs that do parcel delivery or truck driver, anyone involved in this different new economy,” Orrenius said.

E-commerce is the new economy and has been a safe option for many, leaving small businesses and store fronts in the dust.