The Quad Cities economy started to recover during the final months of last year. That's according to a study done for the Chamber of Commerce by Doctor Kenneth Kriz, Professor of Public Administration at the University of Illinois.
He says here, and across the country, economic activity dropped sharply last spring when the pandemic began, then began to recover during the summer. In the fall though, it slowed down again as COVID case counts increased. Whether that recovery continues as 2021 begins, depends on the virus.
"If the vaccines win then we're going to see a stronger recovery yet again and we're going to be back toward where we would have been without the virus. But if the new variants win, if we're not able to get people vaccinated in an efficient manner, then I think there's more uncertainty about the what the path of the recovery will be. "
He says the recovery last fall was un-even, with improvement in some sectors such as manufacturing, but continued declines in services, including recreation and tourism. And unemployment has dropped slowly but steadily from its high point last April.
Along with watching whether the vaccine or the variants win, Dr. Kriz will be watching how our long-term behavior might change - how many people will continue working remotely and the future of businesses that rely on walk-in customers.
His quarterly studies for the Quad Cities Chamber look at unemployment, job postings, small business revenue and openings, cell phone usage, credit card receipts, and other other variables.