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NC Chamber Foundation Releases Year in Review: 2020 COVID

New research report examines pandemic’s economic impacts and opportunities for North Carolina 

The NC Chamber Foundation released Year in Review: 2020 COVID, a reflective research report on the statewide economy during the past year. The publication addresses the demographic, health, and economic effects caused by COVID-19 across our communities, as well as how North Carolina’s response and recovery compare nationally and with other states in the Southeastern region.

Key findings:

  • Economic sectors were affected unequally in both North Carolina and the U.S., including substantial and sustained losses in the leisure and hospitality industries. Manufacturing employment in North Carolina was hit notably harder than in neighboring states.
  • North Carolina’s General Fund budget has not been as negatively impacted as many feared, with conservative practices providing some cushion against cutbacks in government employment and services. Many other states are not as fortunate.
  • Bankruptcies, evictions and foreclosures, and commercial real estate disruption will continue to be headwinds in 2021.
  • However, North Carolina’s high quality of living may allow the state to benefit from interest in more remote work, supply-chain resiliency and redundancy, and likely growth in the state’s historically strong presence of biopharma and other innovation sector companies.

“We have learned many lessons this year, yet 2020 has taught one lesson most clearly: hope for the best but be prepared for disruption,” said NC Chamber Foundation President Kelly Fuller. “This report is a tool to help us strategically face the challenges and opportunities coming in 2021. In terms of workforce development, we must match unemployed North Carolinians with job openings, offer training and reskilling for displaced workers, and provide enhanced childcare options. Businesses will need to reconsider the ways they both recruit and retain talent. With intentional focus and concentrated effort, we can harness the lessons of COVID-19 to create a new economic blueprint that can benefit North Carolina for generations to come.”

This summer, the Foundation introduced the COVID-19 Tracking Tool that provides a window into regularly updated health and economic metrics in our state and region. These data show the real-time impact of the pandemic in a host of areas.

In addition, the NC Chamber Foundation launched the interactive and intuitive NC Dashboard this October, a data-driven, objective tool to measure the state’s competitive weaknesses and advantages. The streamlined NC Dashboard allows anyone to easily monitor how North Carolina’s economic success compares to every other state by tracking strategic growth metrics. Organized around North Carolina Vision 2030, the Foundation’s long-term plan developed with North Carolina’s job creators to secure a more competitive future, the NC Dashboard reveals insights into the state of our economy to identify North Carolina’s advancements as well as the state’s areas in need of improvement.