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COVID-19 Concerns: Economic recovery plagues the minds of many in the Great Lakes region

COVID-19 Concerns: Economic recovery plagues the minds of many in the Great Lakes region
January 26, 2021 Natasha Blakely

With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out, many people are shifting their worries to the economy and how to recover from the state that it has been left in – with numerous local and regional industries gutted after this past summer.

“Until we start working together and work together to make sure that we keep the pandemic down while the vaccine is coming in, we’re not going to be able to rebuild this economy for quite some time,” John Dickert of the Alliance for Regional Development in a Great Lakes Now interview.


Watch Great Lakes Now’s segment on COVID-19 and the economy here:


Even as recovery happens however, it is not looking to be an even journey for all sectors of communities. The University of Michigan Research Seminar for Quantitative Economics forecasted that recovery will be faster in higher-wage industries, just as employment has held up better in higher-wage industries.

“The COVID-19 recession thus appears to be driving a substantial increase in income inequality,” the report stated.

But COVID-19 also led to some unexpected developments. Sales of outdoor sports equipment spiked as interest in outdoor recreation shot up as well.

Bicycle sales increased 63% in June 2020 compared to the year before, paddle sports equipment sales increased 56% and camping equipment increased 31%, according to a report from the NPD Group

Great Lakes national parks saw swathes of new visitors. Indiana Dunes National Park, right at the tip of Lake Michigan, saw a 34% increase in attendance in August, compared to the same time last year.


Watch Great Lakes Now‘s segment on the increase in visitors at national parks here:


Already some industries are seeing signs of a similar winter boom.

“I had a record October,” Jeff Swanson, owner of Don Orr Ski Haus in Traverse City, told Bridge Michigan in a story on a potential increased interest in skiing. “It’s tough to say, but I think the reality is anybody in the outdoor industry right now is experiencing a surge in sales because everyone wants to be outside.”


Here is some other Great Lakes Now work on the COVID-19’s impact on the region:

Campus Clues to COVID-19: Sewage testing key to detecting early infections

COVID-19 pushed people outdoors. Michigan’s ski industry is ready for them.

Summertime Spike: Great Lakes parks a source of balm and vexation for many during COVID-19

Drinking Water News Roundup: Illinois COVID-19 shutoff protections, Ontario First Nation evacuation

Another Casualty of COVID: Testing declines for lead poisoning in Michigan


Featured image: COVID-19 immunizations began on Dec. 15, 2020. (Photo from Province of British Columbia via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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