Report: COVID-19 could hit Tri-County with $700M negative economic impact in just 2 weeks

Report: COVID-19 could hit Tri-County with $700M negative economic impact in just 2 weeks
An economic analysis conducted by the The Trident United Way says the Tri-County area could face a negative economic impact of more than $700 million in just two weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: AP/Pexels)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Trident United Way says the Tri-County area could face a negative economic impact of more than $700 million in just two weeks because of the novel coronavirus.

That figure comes from an economic analysis conducted by the organization.

Jonathan Rauh, Trident United Way’s vice president of evaluation and public policy, says the the federal stimulus bill, which is awaiting approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, could help recoup some of the losses. But how quickly people and businesses see aid is still up in the air, he says.

Jonathan Rauh, Trident United Way’s vice president of evaluation and public policy, says the the federal stimulus bill is more of a “stop the bleeding” measure than one that will have long term benefit.
Jonathan Rauh, Trident United Way’s vice president of evaluation and public policy, says the the federal stimulus bill is more of a “stop the bleeding” measure than one that will have long term benefit. (Source: Trident United Way)

“With so many restaurants and businesses shut down during this crisis, it’s going to have a major economic impact that will be felt for likely the rest of 2020,” Rauh said. “Major economic engines like tourism and manufacturing have ground to a halt. Workers and businesses alike will feel the economic brunt of the virus now and in the future, even with federal assistance.”

He says while workers may see some of their income returned in the pending federal stimulus bill, many who depend on cash tips could still be far below their regular income level.

Rauh says the bill is more of a “stop the bleeding” measure than one that will have long term benefit.

“If we were to extend current levels out to a few months, then yes, you could see billions of dollars in losses,” he said.

Trident United Way economic analysis of COVID-19 impact to Tri-County

  • $755 million loss to local GDP over two weeks (based on 46% national slowdown)
  • Up to $60 million in lost wages in food/beverage industry in just two weeks
  • A 5% rise in unemployment could create $26,000 backlog in utility bills among clients that use TUW Resource Connection Centers

The Trident United Way says those numbers show the increased need for donations to the Tri-County COVID-19 Response Fund. The fund has received more than $179,000 from people and corporate partners since it was created on March 18. That total includes a $50,000 match from Trident United Way.

Tri-County COVID-19 Response Fund contributions are being used for:

  • Basic needs support to address loss of work or other financial hardships
  • Deploying efficient emergency networks of agencies with proven on the ground experience
  • Support nonprofit partners with the surge of assistance requests and supplement service capacity

Trident United Way has a list of resources available for those are economically impacted by the virus. From unemployment assistance to small business assistance, we are a one-stop resource for help during this crisis.

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