Dennis Jansen Talks Employment and Local Recovery on KBTX

Sep 21, 2020
Summary: The state of local employment and unemployment, along with economic recovery in the College Station-Bryan metro area, were topics of discussion in an interview with Dennis Jansen, PERC’s director, that aired on KBTX news on Friday, September 18, 2020.
Although unemployment insurance claims in College Station-Bryan were on the decline after their peak on April 4, 2020, the number of claims filed is again on the rise, according to Economic Indicators, the monthly report produced by PERC that analyzes the health of the local economy.
“If you look at our report [Economic Indicators], unemployment claims at the state level had a similar pattern – they, too declined from the week ending July 4, basically to the week ending August 8. Then you see a rise for next four weeks at the state level; we had that same pattern,” said Jansen. Newly released data from the state show unemployment claims at their lowest level since March, and local claims data is expected to follow suit.
After a precipitous fall due to the pandemic, employment numbers in Leisure and Hospitality have increased to just 200 less jobs than this same period of 2019. Many local residents and business owners are hoping for this trend to continue into Aggie football season.
“First of all, Leisure and Hospitality, this is the sector that has been hit the hardest by the pandemic and the [business] closures,“ said Jansen. “One thing to keep in mind is that locally, our employment in that industry, Leisure and Hospitality, tends to fall in the summer. That’s not usual – across the state, it rises in the summer as people take vacations. But here, students go home and Texas A&M slows down, so there’s less activity in Leisure and Hospitality here in the summer. And so partly, our numbers fall in the summer anyhow, and they fall because of Texas A&M not being as busy and because students aren’t here, and that’s what Covid-19 did, too - it made Texas A&M not as busy and students not here. So, I think the convergence of our current numbers to last year’s numbers during the summer is not really an indicator of what’s going to happen in the fall.”
Although the rise in local employment is good news, recovering from the pandemic’s economic effects will take time. “Covid-19 has caused one of the most costly public health crises we’ve ever faced and part of that cost by dealing with the public health crisis is the associated economic impact, by basically closing down parts of the economy and by consumers refusing to fly or not choosing to fly and not having large entertainment events. So, the rebound in the last couple of months is encouraging, but it’s hard to say what will happen going forward,” said Jansen.
To see the full interview on KBTX, click here.
To read the September issue of Economic Indicators, click here.