'Hit in 2020 is going to take at least two or three years,' says economist on pandemic recovery

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 16, 2020

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado's rebound continues, but there are peaks and valleys which is why News 5 is digging into the economic outlook for the U.S. and the state, and how long it could take to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum, said, "I think the hit in 2020 is going to take at least two or three years for everything to go back to "normal" if indeed it does."

It's the reality that Colorado and most of the world is facing right now. The GDP is down, there are high unemployment rates, and the uncertainty of what the coronavirus and people will do continues.

Bailey said, "You combine the fact that baseline infections were too high...we're divided in terms of mask-wearing and physically put all that together - it's kind of a secret sauce for disaster I'm afraid and now we're seeing a resurgence."

She shared that she's trying to stay optimistic that by early 2021 there will be a vaccine available that could bring recovery, especially to industries like tourism that need it.

Doug Price, president/CEO of Visit Colorado Springs, said, "For the travel industry, this is the great travel depression. We are off so significantly...we believe that the tourism industry will recover by the end of 2023."

However, if there's another shutdown Bailey said, "Whether you government-mandate it or not people are going to make their decisions and it really just means that economic activity is going to slow at best or even start to decline at least for some period of time."

No matter what happens though, she believes that Colorado could rebound faster than other states.

Bailey said, "We do have a pretty big reliance on hospitality, but we also have a very large reliance and representation in professional and technical, and those are largely jobs that can be done from home so that has really helped us."

Something she wants everyone to remember: "Pandemic's end, so as much as it is pain - terrible, horrible, hopefully once in every 100-year economic pain - there is an endpoint."