2020 worst year for U.S. economy, local economist weighs in

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The coronavirus pandemic left its mark on 2020, causing the U.S. economy to hit its lowest economic growth in 74 years.

Last year the economy shrank by 3.5%, making it the worst year since 1946. Experts said this is due to a decrease in consumer spending and business investment.

Wichita State University Director of Economic Development, Jeremy Hill said economists are seeing some positive trends, however.

“We have consumer confidence coming up we still have employment continuing to improve,” said Hill. “We had the rebound from the summer, and into that second quarter of last year declined third quarter came up and we’re seeing a reasonable growth in the economy not exactly where we want it to be, but it’s growing.”

He said while Wichita did have some underlying issues due to aerospace manufacturing, but the city has still managed to grow.

“I think we have an upside to this economy in the Wichita area because we’ve made significant improvements in local development, economic development, and our industries,” said Hill. “I think we are poised to grow in the long run, just not necessarily this next year to see this significant growth.”

Hill said the economy is moving in the right direction, but we may not see large economic growth immediately, 2021 will be a year of recovering for many industries.

“The big takeaway for this year is I think we’re gonna see a lot of the jobs that were laid off come back,” said Hill. “We’re gonna bring them back into the economy, fill them back up for the most part, except for aerospace will be a little bit less.”

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