Arkansas Business asked industry leaders to share their expectations for 2021, both before and after the coronavirus vaccine is widely available. Here’s what they said.
Chief Economist and Economic Forecaster
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Arkansas Economic Development Institute
I will watch with interest as the “new normal” for our economy unfolds. The eventual availability of vaccines will make it possible to return to a life where COVID-19 is no longer a central focus. Still, in the months remaining, we will continue to experience accelerated creative destruction that’s likely to alter the economic landscape permanently. By the end of 2020, the economy has recovered more quickly than many expected, but emerging growth patterns reflect changes. Consumers have altered their spending: At-home meals have displaced dining out, online shopping continues to displace brick-and-mortar retail, and travel is increasingly local.
Businesses, particularly restaurants and the retail sector, have accommodated social distancing and consumer expectations with resilience and flexibility. Trends toward remote work and video teleconferencing have accelerated, transforming the office environment.
Although some changes may prove temporary, others will persist. In the end, I expect to see a post-pandemic economy that’s more resilient and dynamic.