Manufacturing Rallies as Tourism, Energy Lag

By: - November 11, 2020 12:00 am

A worker at a new clothing factory in Ashland, Pennsylvania, sews shirts. States with manufacturing jobs are bouncing back from the pandemic more quickly than those dependent on tourism or energy. Jaqueline Dormer/Republican-Herald via The Associated Press

After a pandemic plunge cratered the U.S. economy in the spring, some states appear to be recovering by catering to Americans’ renewed obsession with homes and cars. States dependent on tourism or energy are still foundering, however.

The nation’s economic output, as measured by gross domestic product, jumped an annualized 38% in the third quarter of this year after dropping 31% in the second quarter, when pandemic shutdowns peaked.  

State by state GDP numbers won’t be out until December, but looking at the economic sectors that are coming back indicates which states might be recovering the fastest.  

As people hunkered down at home, some sectors saw increases over 2019 in the third quarter: real estate, home remodeling, home furnishings, appliances and food service, according to national GDP figures.

That boost could be helping largely suburban states such as Connecticut, where homes and office parks are suddenly in demand as city dwellers seek more space and privacy in the pandemic.

“There is apparently a migration from the city to the suburbs, which is driving up home prices and increasing demand for automobiles,” said Francis Ahking, an associate economics professor at the University of Connecticut who studies state economic trends.

“Also, there is a fair amount of remodeling going on to accommodate the work-from-home and learn-from-home crowd,” Ahking added. “The construction industry is doing well.”

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Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson

Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Journal News.