Cities could lose $1.5 trillion in economic activity in 2020 — and that’s if the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control later this year, according to a new report from the US Conference of Mayors.
The loss amounts to a drop of 8.8% in economic output.
The average unemployment rate for 2020 is expected to be above 10% in 161 metro areas, or 42% of the total, according to the report.
“Our budgets have really been hurt, some decimated, by this pandemic,” said Louisville, Kentucky, Mayor Greg Fischer, the conference’s president. “Rising costs to deal with the pandemic and falling tax revenue have been a double whammy on cities.”
Over the second half of this year, metro economies should continue to recover some of the losses in jobs and wages from the spring — if the outbreak doesn’t continue to surge.
But the recovery will be slow, according to the report. By the first quarter of next year, metro-level employment will remain 5.2% below that of a year earlier, a loss of 7 million jobs.
The mayors’ group is using the dire economic forecast to press for more federal aid in the stimulus package that lawmakers are now crafting. And they’d like it sent directly to cities, noting that