Economists: 300k jobs likely lost in North Texas due to coronavirus pandemic

Economists predict the coronavirus pandemic could cost the Texas economy nearly $101 billion with nearly 300,000 jobs lost in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Economic experts weighed in on what's to come during a virtual roundtable Wednesday hosted by the Dallas Regional Chamber.

Economic analyst Dr. Ray Perryman estimates Texas is on track to lose roughly a million jobs over the next 12 months.

National retail sales were down 8.7 percent in March - that's twice as much as during the recession in 2008. The numbers for April and May are expected to be worse.

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But Perryman says traditionally consumers tend to come back fairly quickly within months, based on what happened to the airline industry after 9/11 and other industries coming out of the 2008 recession. It all depends on when consumers will start to feel safe going out and resuming their daily activities.

“Consumer spending is about 65-70% of the GDP just about everywhere, so consequently consumers are going to drive a lot of what goes on,” Perryman said. “And so consumer confidence is going to be an important factor, when are consumers willing to have enough confidence to shop again, but also how soon are consumers going to be willing to attend a concert? Attend an athletic event? All those kinds of things, and we can’t possibly know the answers to that yet.”

The Dallas Regional Chamber says the DFW area weathered the 2008 recession well in part because of the area's economic diversity - and Perryman says that could serve the area well again this time.

He also predicts while some industries like healthcare and telecommunications might come out of this crisis stronger -- other industries like airlines, restaurants and hotels might take a bit longer to bounce back. Historically, Perryman says the transportation, trade and financial sectors are some of the first to bounce back fairly quickly.

One thing Perryman warns would be bad is to have to shut down the economy again if coronavirus continues to come back in waves. He says that would put North Texas in a difficult situation to come out of.

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