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Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

COVID-19 Economic Impact

A joint project of the Charlotte Regional Research Collaborative

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COVID-19 Economic Impact

COVID-19 Dashboard

A lot has changed since mid-March. The public health and economic emergency of the COVID-19 crisis has rippled through so quickly, traditional data sources have lagged conditions on the ground. This dashboard was created to put in one place disparate data sources to give the Charlotte Region as complete an overview of the COVID crisis as possible.

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COVID-19 Economic Impact

Dashboard Highlights

The Charlotte Region Covid-19 Dashboard is a joint project of the Charlotte Regional Research Collaborative, a group of researchers from the private, public, and non-profit sectors. The dashboard looks at a variety of indicators to see the impact of the current economic crisis on the Charlotte region. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Consumer Expenditures: After slow improvement in consumer expenditures after the trough in mid-April, improvement has slowed and has remained between 5% and 10% below the baseline through mid-September. The trends of higher spending at grocery stores and lower spending at restaurants, hotels, and transportation have remained.

Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate in the Charlotte region was 7.1% in August, a decrease from the July unemployment rate of 9.2%.

Federal Bank of Richmond Surveys: The Survey of Manufacturing Activity found a continued improvement in activity in September. The composite index continued to climb, which was driven by strong indicators for employment and new orders. The Survey of Service Sector Activity revealed more modest improvement than the manufacturing sector, but the indexes for revenues and demand recorded their first positive reading since March. Firms continue to remain optimistic that employment, wages, and overall conditions would continue to improve over the next 6 months.

North Carolina Unemployment Claims: Unemployment claims, while down significantly from April, remain high with over 150,000 initial claims and 365,000 continued claims in July. Young workers between 25-34, minorities, and leisure and hospitality workers continue to be affected most by the pandemic. The disproportionate effect on black workers is particularly pronounced where they consist of 38% of unemployment claims at the state level despite only consisting of 20% of the workforce. This trend exists in Mecklenburg County as well where they represent 53% of the unemployment claims while consisting of 26% of the workforce.  

Mecklenburg County and Charlotte Region Hotel Data: After climbs in demand since mid-April in Mecklenburg County, it leveled off at about 11,000 rooms per night, between 50-60% of demand in 2019. Occupancy and Average Daily Rate (ADR) leveled off with demand as well with about 39% occupancy and $80 ADR.. At the regional level, demand is down about 34.8% through August, with year-to-date occupancy down about 36% and ADR down about 19%.

COVID Cases: One of the most important indicators to understand the prospects of our regional economy in the foreseeable future is how well we are controlling COVID-19. One important way to understand the spread of COVID-19 is the number of new cases. Both North Carolina and South Carolina have decreased the number of new daily cases since their peak in mid-July, although progress has plateaued since mid-August.

Indicators continue to be mixed through September as business sentiment seems to be more optimistic about the future, and the unemployment rate continues to tick downwards. However, employment levels and consumer spending remain well below pre-pandemic levels in several industries. Continuing to control the virus will be key to the economic recovery, and indicators in North and South Carolina are continuing to move in the right direction. Moving forward, the COVID-19 dashboard will continue to provide context on how this crisis is affecting the Charlotte regional economy.

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COVID-19 Economic Impact

Charlotte Regional Research Collaborative

The Charlotte Regional Research Collaborative, a consortium of researchers and economists from the private, public and non-profit sectors hosted by the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, partnered to produce and update the dashboard. Updates will be made weekly, and additional data sources could be added.

Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

Charlotte Regional Business Alliance

The Growth Report

The second quarter of 2020 was one of the toughest on record. Quarter-to-quarter net job loss in the region exceeded 155,000. June brought partial recovery and, despite the downturn, 22 traded-sector companies announced relocation or expansion plans accounting for more than $1.1 billion in capital investment.

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Chuck McShane, PhD

For More Information

Chuck McShane, PhD

Senior Vice President
Economic Research
704-378-1327