“We must reimagine what recovery will look like in a changed world,” Bob McNab, professor of economics and director of Old Dominion University’s Dragas Center, told those gathered in person and virtually late last year for a very different 2020 ODU State of the Region Report, which annually offers data and analysis of area economic and cultural trends. “This is a time to question assumptions and old ways of doing things.”
While there is still no shortage of dire statistics to report from local labor markets and consumer spending, promising news on the vaccine front, hard-earned knowledge from months dealing with the pandemic and improved access to resources for struggling businesses give cause for cautious optimism.
But the reality is nevertheless stark, particularly for minority-owned businesses and residents, which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. “A complete recovery will likely take years,” the report’s intro asserts, “and we should avoid wishful thinking about the coronavirus and the region’s economic recovery.”