Arizona business leader expects vaccine to reboot economy by July
PHOENIX – There’s no way around it: 2020 has been a brutal year for the Arizona economy.
But Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer believes Arizona’s economy will be back to full strength by July, the business community buoyed by Gov. Doug Ducey’s announcement that the COVID-19 vaccine will start arriving in the state by the end of month.
“There will be an explosion of domestic tourism, people going to restaurants and theaters and visiting downtown areas that haven’t seen great traffic since the pandemic began in the spring,” Hammer said.
He predicted Arizona’s economy “will be among the strongest economies in the nation moving forward.”
Hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost in the state during the pandemic and many businesses were lost while others are struggling to reach 2021. Job losses remain high with about 125,000 people still out of work and small businesses across the board have been hit very hard.
“The tourism and restaurant industries together employ more than a half million Arizonans, so this will be a great shot in the arm for our economy,” Hamer said.
He expects the state will continue to lure the world’s largest and most advanced companies but he is concerned about the impact to small businesses of voter-approved Prop 208.
“Our taxation on small businesses is now out of whack and one the 10 highest in the nation. These impacted small businesses employ over 50% of our private sector workforce,” he said.
And even though the vaccines are a game changer, Hamer said this is no time for anyone to let their guard down when it comes to masking up and staying socially distanced to help curb the spread of the virus.