NASHVILLE, Tennessee. August 11, 2020 (WSMV) — The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce has been following the city’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and how businesses in the area have been responding. Officials with the chamber said there are two main things they are keeping track of – what’s happening to employment, particularly small businesses, and what’s happening with business revenue.
They saw the most impact to businesses in May when 56 percent of them had to furlough employees. Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce said despite this, the impact to Nashville’s small businesses has been smaller here than in the rest of the country. President and CEO of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Ralph Schulz says they are now seeing restoration in that area, and that businesses are starting to bring employees back.
According to the chamber, there has been a net loss of about 114,000 jobs this year, with most of that impact seen in the retail, wholesale industry and food and hotel services. More than half of businesses with fewer than 50 employees had to cut back on their staff at the beginning of the pandemic, according to the chamber. Though the chamber reports seeing many small businesses going out of business, they are currently offering help in the form of virtual programming covering topics like the CARES Act, PPP, unemployment and other business-related topics.
“Nashville has a real resilience and it is driven by a balanced economy – a number of industries that are strong in our area. And it is driven by the entrepreneurs and small businesses that adapt pretty quickly through circumstances,” Schulz said. “So those are things that are helping us now.” Schulz said unemployment, which peaked around 15 to 16 percent, is heading back toward 9 percent by the end of the calendar year.
Schulz said the chamber is hopeful that Nashville’s economy will be back to normal by 2021. “Right now, we still think that for much of Nashville economy. It will be back in that fourth quarter of 2021,” he said. “We think that the hospitality market might be another six months or so, maybe nine months to come back as people get used to travelling.” For the leisure and hospitality industries, the chamber predicts those will be back to normal by the second or third quarter of 2022.