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First Coast Economy On A Slow Path To Recovery, Experts Find

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Liz Ferla via Flickr

The Northeast Florida Regional Council says the area ended 2020 with a GDP that was 3.4% lower than 2019’s. The region lost more than 40,000 jobs during the pandemic. But with more residents of the First Coast receiving their coronavirus vaccines, the economy is expected to start returning to normal. 

Experts say we should temper our expectations about the speed of that recovery. 

According to the latest analysis from NEFRC, 40% of small business owners nationwide reported they had closed their business in 2020. Commercial landlords reported many of their tenants had not paid full rent, and according to the New York Times, as many as 33% of households made no or partial payments towards rent or mortgage during the height of the pandemic. 

“While the state and national government have extended eviction moratoria, these costs will eventually have to be paid, either by renters and homeowners or by landlords and banks, with negative economic effects either way,” NEFRC said in its report. 

Still, there are some bright spots: The Jacksonville metro area fared better than Florida and the United States as a whole. And the $1.9 trillion stimulus package making its way through Washington D.C. will likely deliver some much-needed cash to people and governments alike.

All things considered, NEFRC predicts the economy won’t return to its 2019 level until 2022. 

Contact Sydney Boles at, or on Twitter at@sydneyboles.

Sydney manages community engagement programs like WJCT News' Coronavirus Texting Service. Originally from the mountains of upstate New York, she relocated to Jacksonville from Kentucky, where she reported on Appalachia's coal industry.