“When you look at housing sales for the first six months of 2020, they are up over the first six months of 2019,” Newell said. “With low mortgage rates, people are buying and selling homes.”
And he says the local leisure and hospitality industry, hard hit by the pandemic, is also recovering.
“Now, with the restaurants fully opening back up, they are going to recover, those jobs will come back,” Newell said.
“The hotel occupancy rates are beginning to increase.”
Newell also said new federal and state programs to help businesses during the pandemic have saved many local jobs.
He says, in particular, the federal Paycheck Protection Program has saved about 22,000 jobs in the Pine Belt.