Charlotte lost 156,000 jobs last quarter, worst on record, as pandemic weakens economy

Charlotte lost 156,000 jobs last quarter, worst on record, as pandemic weakens economy
The coronavirus has devastated much of the region’s economy, with many workers and businesses barely able to make ends meet. (Source: via Pixabay)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - The Charlotte area lost 156,400 jobs last quarter as the economic impact of the novel coronavirus set in, according to a new report from the area’s top business group.

The worst hit industry was hospitality and leisure, with the area’s major hotels running bare-bones operations and amusement parks like Carowinds shuttered for the year.

The lone industry to keep employment relatively flat in the second quarter of 2020 was finance and insurance, according to Charlotte Regional Business Alliance’s quarterly growth report released Thursday. Many banks pledged that they wouldn’t have layoffs during the pandemic.

The report found that the most dramatic job losses came in April, followed by incremental net gains in jobs in May and June.

The coronavirus has devastated much of the region’s economy, with many workers and businesses barely able to make ends meet.

Uncertainty continues to linger about how long the state will remain in the second, limited phase of Gov. Roy Cooper’s re-opening plan. Cooper extended the phase through at least Sept. 11 on Wednesday.

SOME BUSINESS EXPANSION

The second quarter of 2020 had the most job losses of any quarter on record according to Chuck McShane, the group’s research executive. His data goes back to 2001.

While some jobs have returned in the months following the onset of the pandemic, any larger economic recovery “really depends on how quickly we can get the virus under control,” he said. “The longer that consumer spending remains constrained, that could have systemic effects.”

Four in 10 jobs lost were in leisure and hospitality, according to the report. The area’s manufacturing, transportation and warehousing industries were also hard hit.

Still, many businesses are expanding in or moving to the Charlotte area.

In the second quarter, GoldenHome International, a Chinese cabinetmaker, announced plans to build a facility on the site of the old Philip Morris plant in Concord. And the department store Ross said it would expand its York County, S.C. distribution center.

“This area is still a growth area of manufacturing and distribution,” McShane said.

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