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Collaboration in the Face of Crisis: The Keys to Economic Recovery from COVID-19

The project team outlined two major, interconnected issues facing communities during the COVID-19 pandemic: hospitality employment and parents departing the workforce. The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit industries given business closures, reduced capacity, and low consumer confidence. Hospitality employment plummeted in April 2020 and has yet to recover. In North Carolina, September 2020 sector employment was still about 20% lower than September 2019. Underlying this issue is the struggle to reopen businesses safely and improve consumer confidence.

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North Carolina seeks to build and sustain vibrant, healthy, resilient, and connected communities that produce, attract, and retain firms, workers, and entrepreneurs. Place-based assets are the building blocks of economic development and include the physical infrastructure necessary to expand broadband access, enhance regional transportation and transit options, and increase the supply of workforce housing. Local strategies include placemaking, downtown revitalization, product development, and disaster resilience and recovery efforts. At the same time, the hollowing out of middle-income jobs nationally and resulting economic insecurity threaten the state’s economy by failing to create opportunities for all North Carolinians to contribute creativity, productivity, and innovation.

The ncIMPACT Initiative provides data and analysis to assist local and state policymakers in making decisions intended to strengthen the state’s economy. For example, we completed a project for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to determine the root causes that contribute to Forsyth County’s persistent poverty rates and other related socioeconomic conditions. We recommended ways their local funding strategy could address these causes through an inclusive economy strategy. We also collaborated with the UNC Center for Urban & Regional Studies to staff the North Carolina Comprehensive Strategic Economic Development Plan for the NC Department of Commerce.


Data Snapshots

Labor Force Participation Rate

Women-Owned Firms

Earned Income Tax Rates