By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read August 2020 — As the summer wanes, Queen City businesses and residents face major challenges related to personal finances and overall financial recovery. With back-to-school season and the November elections looming, uncertainty in an already volatile economic cycle will remain a constant for the rest of the year.
The Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP loans, has been a major support for local businesses. Data released by the Small Business Administration show that almost 19,000 Charlotte businesses tapped into these resources, the Charlotte Observer reported in July. As a major banking hub, Charlotte’s banking sector plays an important role in the Queen City’s financial recovery. With major institutions such as Truist, Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bank calling Charlotte home, or having a considerable presence in the region, Charlotte is poised to weather the pandemic-related economic challenges, much like it did during the Great Recession.
Currently, Charlotte remains in the Safer At Home Phase 2, as Gov. Roy Cooper extended the phase another five weeks in an effort to decrease COVID-19 numbers as students and staff prepare for back-to-school season. Mecklenburg County had reported more than 22,000 cases and 226 deaths as of the beginning of August, according to the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 Status Report. “Other states that lifted restrictions quickly have had to go backward as their hospital capacity ran dangerously low and their cases jumped higher. We will not make that mistake in North Carolina,” Cooper said in a press release. “In keeping with our dimmer switch approach with schools opening, and in order to push for decreasing numbers, which will keep people healthier and boost our economy, North Carolina will remain paused in Safer At Home Phase 2 for 5 weeks.”
Balancing health and safety with goals for opening the economy has proved to be a precarious task for state and municipal governments across the country. While businesses have measures such as PPP loans, embattled residents laid off by the impact of the pandemic have to rely on local and national governments to help make ends meet. Gov. Cooper has been vocal about urging the national government to extend unemployment benefits as the talks for more stimulus packages continue. “The additional $600 a week unemployed workers have received from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program has been a lifeline for struggling families and communities over these past few months,” Cooper said in a press release. “But unless the federal government acts quickly, these benefits will expire and many people will be without money they need to pay bills and provide for their families. I am urging Congress to do the right thing for the health of our families and the health of our economy by extending this critical program.”
In an effort to help North Carolinians find employment in this current economic cycle, the governor’s office created NCcareers.org, an integrated career information system that offers residents ways to explore careers and job opportunities during the pandemic. “North Carolinians need resources to navigate the quickly changing job market,” Cooper said in a press release. “The new NCcareers.org helps people research the education and training options that lead them to find good, high-paying jobs available right now across our state.”
During these uncertain times, sound insights and collaboration between the public and private sectors will be pivotal in ensuring financial recovery for both businesses and residents. To learn more about financial recovery in Charlotte, register now for the Invest:Charlotte 2020 Virtual Launch Conference. The conference takes place on Sept. 10 at 11:30 a.m. The virtual conference will feature two robust panels, including “Financial recovery for businesses and individuals in the wake of a pandemic,” moderated by Stuart Goldstein, managing partner Charlotte Office, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and featuring Truist Metrolina Regional Charlotte President Heath Campbell, Fifth Third Bank Mid-Atlantic President Lee Fite and Wells Fargo Managing Director and Senior Economist Mark Vitner.
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