In 2019, the South Jersey regional economy had its best year since 1984. However, the personal nature of the hospitality, tourism and gaming industries on which the region’s economy depends will create extra challenges for a quick recovery in 2020 from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Spring 2020 edition of The South Jersey Economic Review.
Based on different scenarios, the issue reports that regional GDP could contract between 12 and 28 percent ($2.1 to $5.1 billion). During the Great Recession of 2009, it contracted 9.6 percent.
“The regional economy’s reliance upon the leisure and hospitality sector again looms large,” said Oliver Cooke, editor of the Review and associate professor of economics at Stockton. “We play and vacation together. And, personal, intimate, high-quality service (whether provided at a poker or restaurant table) arguably lies at the heart of the hospitality business.”
The issue develops multiple scenarios for the 2020 season, based on three factors:
“While the speed of the return to normalcy will dictate the number of lost summer 2020 shore weeks, my own sense is that the COVID-drag will eventually play the more important role in determining the trajectory of the regional economy over the remainder of 2020 (and beyond),” Cooke said. “While we will eventually begin to work and play again, it strains credulity to believe that we will all do so at the same levels we previously did—at least for the better part of what remains of 2020.”
Other highlights of the review include:
“The decision to include our 2019 analysis was driven by a belief that the region’s stakeholders would still benefit from having a comprehensive sense of where the regional economy stood prior to the onset of the COVID-19 crisis,” Cooke said.
The Spring 2020 edition of the South Jersey Economic Review is produced by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and is posted on its website.
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