An Economic Outlook for 2020 & Beyond

Roger Tutterow, Ph.D., professor of Economics, Kennesaw State University, addressed the Southern Textile Association’s Summer Marketing Forum with a presentation that balanced good news with caveats, resulting in an outlook that portrayed progress being made on the economic front mixed with a dose of reality due to Covid crisis ramifications.

Tutterow’s talk, “Returning to Economic Normalcy in the ‘New Normal’,” covered a broad swath of data that included an array of industry statistics beyond the textile marketplace. He cautioned the audience – which assembled virtually – to be aware of misleading statistics that suggest dire circumstances, but on the other hand, know that the economic forecast depends on the state of the Coronavirus and the government response.

He noted that manufacturing is “doing reasonably well” pointing out that it’s helping that inventory has been drawn down. However, Tutterow followed up, stating, “don’t expect hospitality and retail sales to come back strong enough to protect from a tough year in 2020.”

On the topic of employment, Tutterow concluded, “There will be a gradual digging out of the hole and the pace of added jobs will moderate.  It’s going to take a while to get back to pre-pandemic levels.”  

That’s likely the case not just for the textiles community, but business in general.

The STA summer meeting, titled “Surviving and Thriving – a resilient U.S. textile industry emerging stronger, more sustainable in wake of Covid-19,” offered daily “lunch & learn” digital sessions during the week of August 17-21st. For more on Tutterow’s talk as well as other presenters, check out the organization’s website  

Excepts from presentations will also be available in stories featured in the upcoming issue of Textile Insight magazine,