It could take years for Virginia's economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. That's the headline from Old Dominion University, which has released its annual look at the Commonwealth's economy.
The newest State of the Commonwealth report shows the pandemic ended 11 consecutive months of economic growth in Virginia.
Bob McNab is director of ODU’s Dragas Center, which compiled the report. He says unemployment claims have come down from record levels recorded in the spring – both nationally and in Virginia – but the situation is still dire.
“More troubling, we’re seeing permanent layoffs that transition from temporary furloughs to permanent layoffs continue in the United States and at a more significant pace than any recorded modern recession,” he says.
McNab adds the pandemic has been especially hard on the African-American community – which has already been hit disproportionately by the virus from a health standpoint.
“Prior to the pandemic, white households in the United States had approximately eight times the wealth that African-American households had," he explains. "So entering into the pandemic on average, white households had a more robust economic foundation to weather economic shocks.”
One bright spot for Virginia is its close reliance on federal spending. That allows its economy to fare better during downturns than other states.