July’s COVID-19 surge halted economic growth in Texas
DALLAS - The surge of coronavirus cases in July had an impact on the Texas economy.
Experts say growth that was taking place in May and June abruptly stopped in July as a major outbreak spread across the state.
COVID-19 has curtailed clothing sales at Cavalli Men’s Wear in Mesquite. Owner Mohammed Ishmail says things were a little better in May and June, then the virus spiked last month and sales sank.
“After July, to be honest with you, it comes like 80 percent down as a business. I hope it’s going to be better after that, but as a normal customer we didn't see any - any of them,” Ishmail said.
He is not alone.
“We have seen a resurgence of COVID-19 infection in the state and with that we've seen people sort of pullback in terms of how often they are going out,” said Laila Assanie, Sr. Business Economist, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.
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The impact is especially hurting in-person businesses like retail and restaurants and hindering hiring for the rest of the year.
“We do expect employment to be down overall for the year 2020, down nearly five percent. We do expect jobs or hiring to be sluggish and not enough to offset the decline that we saw previously,” Assanie said.
SMU Economist Mike Davis said it was clear the economy was starting to grow a bit more rapidly at the start of the summer.
“Then we plateaued and it’s certainly predictable. We always have known that this economy is being run by the pandemic,” Davis said.
Retailers are forced to weather the storm until customers return.
“I hope they're going to come back and it’s going to be like normal soon,” Ishmail said.