FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A new report detailing COVID-19’s toll on Oregon’s economy makes it clear that the virus is calling the shots. Control it, the economy gets better. Lose control, the economy gets worse.
That reality is among the conclusions from an analysis of current economic data by ECONorthwest completed this week for Oregon Business & Industry, Food Northwest, and Oregon Business Council. The full report will be presented during the July 28 kickoff of the Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit Series.
In addition to the economic assessment, the event will include a conversation with Governor Kate Brown on the state’s public health and economic challenges. Registration is open for the free event at obplive.com/register.
According to John Tapogna, president of ECONorthwest: “We’re operating in a ’90 percent economy’ for the foreseeable future. Unemployment claims peaked in May and rebounded in June as reopening brought back a third of the jobs initially lost. Still, Oregon’s unemployment is roughly equal to the low point of the Great Recession. Current forecasts show employment unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2024. Our challenge is bridging from unprecedented volatility to a stable post-pandemic future.”
The Oregon Business Plan Summit Series picks up where last December’s summit concluded. It promised to spend 2020 answering concerns such as how to share prosperity more equitably, improve Oregon’s economic competitiveness, and adapt to the changing future of work.
Joth Ricci, Oregon Business Plan chair and president of Dutch Bros Coffee, will provide an overview of the Summit Series policy process. A panel of voices on shared economic prosperity will include moderator Shari Dunn, CEO of ITBOM, LLC; Rukaiyah Adams, chief investment officer at Meyer Memorial Trust; Andrew Colas, president of Colas Construction, Inc.; and Mark Jackson, president of REAP, Inc. Ricci also will discuss Oregon’s economic reopening challenges in an interview with Sandra McDonough, president of Oregon Business and Industry, and Craig Smith, director of government affairs for Food Northwest.
“Our goal is shared prosperity,” said Duncan Wyse, Oregon Business Council president. “The pandemic has intensified the urgency of concerns about economic equity and shaped our research and planning discussions for this year’s Oregon Business Plan. The pandemic overlays questions about the best strategies for recovery, how to manage through a severe recession, and navigate trends and changes accelerated by the crisis to rebuild a resilient economy in which all can participate.”
“Measuring the impact of the virus on Oregon’s private sector economy is critical because historic job losses threaten income-tax-dependent state budgets,” said Smith. “Restoring lost jobs is the most reliable way to restore funding for essential public services.”
“Policymakers, business leaders and the community must jointly create safe and predictable paths for businesses to reopen, workers to return to their jobs, customers to return to local businesses, and Oregonians to return to some semblance of normalcy,” said McDonough. “Employers, employees and the public must trust that it’s safe to risk returning to work.”