Forest Country Summit tackles post-pandemic economic growth

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 2:47 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 26, 2021 at 7:44 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - The Texas Forest Country Economic Development Summit took place Tuesday in Nacogdoches.

Analysts and economists spoke about what’s needed for life after COVID.

Noted economist Richard Froeschle suggests understanding the current day recession and having the skill sets to survive.

A labor shortage. A disrupted supply chain. Uncertainty about the future. All fallout from the current day recession.

Froschle puts it in terms of three waves.

“Sort of the hurricane affect,” is his chosen metaphor for COVID-19.

“Everything went down, in what March and April. Just cratered.”

But by summer, consumer spending habits provided economic improvements. The Senior Labor Market Economist for Texas State Technical College described it as a “big bounce back.”

Wave 2, a delayed response, had businesses responding erratically.

“Hiring. Layoffs. Hiring. Layoffs. Kind of going sideways, " he describes.

And finally, resolving survival led by reassessment.

“How much automation should I have? Will I be able to find work? Do I need to change my business model? All those really strategic aspects of business, that’s where our business community is today,” said Froeschle.

Only to discover workers aren’t readily coming back due to many factors, including better paying jobs.

Froschele reminds applicants and hiring managers technical skills are important, but increasingly, so are soft skills.

“Your ability to work well with others, a willingness to learn, a professional ethic. Those are very important to the business community these days.”

Froschele predicts a recession recovery will happen the summer of 2022, sooner than elsewhere in the nation.

“But I’m an eternal optimist anyway,” he laughed.

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