Mid-America Regional Council predicts KC economy could regain a third of lost jobs by end of 2020

Posted at 8:40 AM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 10:03:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — About a third of the 123,000 jobs lost in the Kansas City, Missouri, area due to COVID-19 pandemic could return by the end of 2020, according to predictions from the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC).

Frank Lenk, the director of MARC’s research services department, said the region is already seeing signs of a short term economic rebound. He said as municipalities lift stay-at-home orders, businesses are hiring and people are spending money again.

Lenk says returning to the way things were before the pandemic will take time.

In a best-case scenario, the economy will return to normal in September 2021, in the worst case he says it will return to normal close to September 2024. Either scenario, Lenk pointed out, is better than the six or seven years it took the United States to recover from the Great Recession.

“The longer-term really depends on some assurance we can all be together again and be safe, that means a vaccine or better treatment. That could take a while, a year or more.,” Lenk explained.

Lenk is working with a group named KC Rising to discuss how the region will change as a result of the economic downturn and what needs to happen to strengthen the economy. He said first and foremost the area will need to find ways to train and educate people to complete skilled, high-paying positions.

“The region will be more resilient if our people are more resilient,” Lenk said. “So we need to take that lesson to heart and figure out how we can make everyone as resilient as those who, frankly, have the highest incomes and are able to withstand this.”

Lenk said the Kansas City area has a good foundation of strong industries like finance, transportation and construction, which will help it bounce back.

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