Coronavirus impact: Expert points to positive signs as SoCal's economy begins to recover

The unemployment rate in California grew to a record number last month with millions out of work, but as society begins to reopen, there are some positive signs the worst may be behind us.
While more and more countries are opening up around world, the economic impact of the coronavirus is still immense.

The numbers are catastrophic. The unemployment rate in California grew to a record 15.5% last month with more than 2.3 million jobs lost. But now, finally there are some signs we may be pulling out of this economic tailspin.

"We've reached the bottom. It's not going to get worse," said local economist Dr. Manfred Keil with Claremont College.

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That's some tempered good news from Dr. Keil of the Robert Day School of Economics, who like others in his field and really every one of us, has had to watch as the world's economy ground to a halt due to COVID-19.

"Things became clearer last Friday when we got the numbers for April. And those were truly, what shall I say, disastrous," said Dr. Keil.

And unlike past recessions, when areas near the coast fared much better, it's been regions further east that have been able to weather the storm.

"For the Inland Empire, San Bernardino County and Riverside County, we're back to 2015. Which is horrible, but it's not as bad as the coastal area. And here comes the scary one. Los Angeles County is now at employment levels that it has seen last in not 2009, not 2000 -- 1996," said Dr. Keil.

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That's because L.A. and Orange County economies rely more heavily on the leisure and hospitality industries, hotels, restaurants, movies, sports and concerts.

As counties begin to reopen, it will take some time to get back to any semblance of normal. Because you can provide services to the public, but you can't guarantee they'll show up as long as coronavirus is with us.

"The question is: Will people come?," said Dr. Keil.
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