Texas A&M Real Estate Center Chief Economist shares thoughts on economic recovery
More than 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment since March according to the Department of Labor.
Local economists announced the Brazos Valley's unemployment rate is now 9%. In Bryan/College Station, it's slightly better at 8.9% and the Texas unemployment rate now stands at 13%.
Here in the Brazos Valley, many local businesses continue to adjust to losses.
Economic experts say the recovery will continue to take time.
“The thing that’s different here this was a recession that was not caused because of economic problems, this was a mandated recession. I mean we just simply said we had to close down," said Jim Gaines, Ph.D. Gaines is the Chief Economist at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.
"Spending has gone way down and our economy depends on those two things; having a job, income, and spending your money on whatever," he said.
Local businesses are also feeling impacts.
The pandemic has been the biggest business challenge Brandy Klintworth has ever faced.
"We still don’t know what's going to happen but it is, I mean it's looking a little bit bright," said Klintworth. She owns Ramblin' Rose Mercantile in Downtown Bryan. She said business has been down more than 50%. They also had to close for several weeks when COVID-19 first slowed the local economy.
“I think it'll take gradually. We’ll get back to normal with maybe more First Fridays and people, more people coming out once they feel a little bit more comfortable about getting out," she said.
Gaines says not all the news is bad.
"We gained 2.5 million jobs in May. Not one economist in the country predicted that," said Gaines. "We didn’t. I mean I’ll put ourselves in the same boat. At least not for May. We thought it would be at least another month or so further out so it was good news... It’s just a drop in the bucket of what we need, but at least it gets the bucket started," he said.
Gaines says one of the most serious issues he's seeing includes having enough jobs for those that have seen positions cut.
"The issue is, will we be able to re-employ if you will 100% of all the people who lost their jobs? And the best guess, and that’s all it is, is a best guess, is that no, it probably won't be 100%," he said.
Klintworth remains hopeful, despite the uncertainty.
"You don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring and it looks like everybody is trying to get back to the norm as best as they can," said Klintworth.
"We’re going to have some businesses that are going to go out of business. They're just flat gone; restaurants, small businesses, mom-and-pop operations, and even bigger ones," said Gaines.
Jim Gaines predicted a recession would be coming at some point when he spoke at the B/CS Economic Outlook Conference in January. He had no idea when it would happen or that it would be one we had to place on ourselves.