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UNCW Economist Adam Jones Is Optimistic About 2021

  On Thursday, October 8th, UNCW hosted its annual Economic Outlook Conference. WHQR takes a look at what forecasters are expecting for the coming year.    

Adam Jones is a regional economist with UNCW’s Cameron School of Business.

His forecast for 2021? It’ll be a much better year for business growth. It can’t, he says, be worse than 2020.  

But according to Jones, the Wilmington area might lag behind the country’s rate of recovery:

“Only because we’re such a seasonal service industry here, and the nation I think will get rolling in the early half; we’re going to have to wait for a little bit more for warmer weather as we get closer to summer, but the opportunity is coming, so optimistic for 2021.”

Jones also says there’s no clear shape to the way in which the economy will ultimately rebound. But, he says, the current trajectory looks more like a checkmark:

“A quick contraction, we bounce back relatively quickly but that last little bit is going to take us a fair amount of time to close. So think about it this way, we’ve seen large gains already simply from allowing businesses to reopen but there also are a lot of businesses that are really struggling and some of them aren’t going to make it.”      

And Jones says the $3 trillion dollars in stimulus money at the beginning of the pandemic really helped get the economy back on its feet -- and that wealthier households are saving more money. But at the other end of the spectrum, most low-income households have used up all the stimulus money they’ve received.