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University Outreach’s Government and Economic Development Institute staff members recently offered insight and perspective on COVID-19 topics.

COVID-19 gives rise to challenges for local governments

These are troubling times, to be certain–none more so than for the health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients and their families. Suppliers are under pressures to produce and deliver, teachers are engaging their students from a distance and individuals are suddenly being plunged into a chasm of how to provide for and protect their loved ones as jobs are lost and the economy falters. Time spent in relative isolation encourages reflection of many things postponed or ignored while priorities are examined and shuffled.

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COVID-19’s potential consumer spending impact in Auburn-Opelika, Mobile and Birmingham 

For many communities across Alabama, the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have been wildly speculative. While some segments of the economy are thriving, including grocery retailers and food delivery services, others such as retailers and personal care businesses have shut down.

While we won’t know the outbreak’s actual impact to state and local economies for some time, a recently released forecasting model developed by the economic research firm, Impact DataSource, predicts the Auburn-Opelika area could see an annual consumer spending decrease of $373 million, or 10.3 percent. Impact DataSource’s “Consumer Spending During A COVID-19 Lock Down” model uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, Consumer Expenditure Survey and assumes a three-month lock down and a five-month recovery. The hardest hit categories in Auburn-Opelika include transportation, with an estimated reduction in spending of $582 million, restaurants at $230 million, entertainment at $215 million and apparel at $125 million.

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The Government and Economic Development Institute has added a COVID-19 resources page to their website. The site is being continuously updated to provide helpful data, articles, links and more.