Forecasting the Pandemic's Impact on the Virginia Economy

Mar 26, 2020

As unemployment claims mount, many people are worried about the future of the Virginia economy.

Things are pretty bad now. And the Stephen Fuller Institute at George Mason University predicts things are going to hit rock bottom in the second quarter of this year.

But Jeanette Chapman at the Fuller Institute says there’s light at the end of the tunnel for Northern Virginia after that -- essentially a full recovery by the end of the calendar year.

“The second quarter is going to be very disruptive, and it will cause a lot of pain for a lot of households," explains Chapman. "However, it shouldn’t be interpreted as the long-term status quo going forward. This is the pandemic status quo.”

So that’s the good news for Northern Virginia, which has a lot of workers in industries that can survive by telecommuting.

But, Chris Braunlich at the Thomas Jefferson Institute worries about the rest of Virginia.

“I am more concerned, frankly, about some of the rest of Virginia that’s already been struggling along where there’s a higher proportion of folks that are part-time workers who are struggling and have been struggling," he says. "They’re the ones who are out of work now.”

Many people are looking to Governor Ralph Northam for a sign of what’s to come next. He’s currently considering hundreds of bills lawmakers sent to him this year, including many that could influence the economy in Virginia in terms of raising the minimum wage or fighting back against climate change.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.