Study ranks Florida 4th most vulnerable state to economic shock from pandemic

Reporter: Stephanie Byrne
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News

Florida’s economy is very fragile amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Oxford Economics, but what does that mean for our Southwest Florida communities?

If you look around, you see barren beaches, spacious sidewalks, and desolate dining rooms.

“Florida is going to be impacted and maybe more impacted than others,” said Dr. Tom Smythe, Florida Gulf Coast University professor of finance.

The new study from Oxford Economics refers to Florida as one of the most vulnerable states when it comes to its economic structure, ranking it 4th.

Dr. Shelton Weeks, chair of the department of economics and finance at FGCU said, “Tourism, travel is a huge piece of that. Another thing that goes hand in hand with it are the number of retirees that we attract to the area.”

The study considers a gamut of factors, including population 65 and older, hospitality and tourism, and hospital beds.

“Depending on how you construct that measure, a place can look better or worse,” Smythe said.

Smythe and Weeks believe there are some moving parts that will later decide how Florida fares.

“How quickly we have developed a vaccine if possible or if we’re able to come out of this with dramatically improved approaches for dealing with the virus,” Weeks said.

“The question, at least in my mind is, how do we come out of the recovery?” Smythe asked. “Do we see sort of a bounce from people just wanting to get away, but also what is the impact that the most recent stimulus legislation is going to have?”

Florida’s feeling COVID-19’s impact, but the road to recovery isn’t set in stone.

Maine ranks as the most vulnerable state in this study, with Nevada and Vermont rounding out the top three.

The study also considered manufacturing work, self-employment, and urban population.

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