Orange County Could Recover By End of 2021, Economic Forecast Says

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A new economic forecast suggests that Orange County, California — home to Anaheim and Disneyland Resort — could make a full economic recovery by the end of 2021.

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Related: Disneyland Shopping and Dining Likely Impacted By Extended State Restrictions

This is a somewhat surprising claim, given that another recent report indicated Southern California tourism as a whole had been pushed back by approximately a decade amid the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, a Visit Anaheim spokesperson and an Anaheim city official have both shared details of the region’s economic distress exclusively with Inside the Magic.

Nonetheless, Spectrum News 1 has shared these details about an economic forecast provided by Chapman University:

Orange County will recover economically by the end of next year or sooner, according to Chapman University’s annual Economic Forecast released Thursday.

The news of vaccines for the coronavirus, effectiveness, and rollout has many economists bullish on the local economy.

“We think things will be back by next summer,” Chapman President Emeritus and professor James Doti said. “Not fully back. Remember the forecast, it will be at the end of 2021. We see leisure and hospitality jobs… there’s going to be a lot of recovery that we see happening next year.”

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Related: Disneyland vs. California: A Timeline of Confusing Events

Orange County — the home of a large portion of Disneyland Resort employees as well as workers at many hotels and restaurants that rely heavily on Disneyland Guests and tourists — was hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park closed on March 14, 2020, and a reopening date for the theme parks has not yet been announced.

The Downtown Disney District and Disney California Adventure’s partially reopened Buena Vista Street are still able to offer limited shopping and dining options amid California Governor Gavin Newsom’s new regional stay-at-home order — all food and beverage consumption, however, must occur off Disneyland Resort property. Dining cannot occur onsite until the order is lifted.

There is, however, as Chapman University’s Professor Doti noted, an eventual end in sight for both Disneyland Cast Members and Guests who miss the theme parks.

Tens of thousands of Disneyland and Disney California Adventure workers have been furloughed and laid off, not including all those who have lost other Anaheim hospitality industry jobs. Once Disneyland Resort is allowed to reopen and these individuals can all begin returning to work, there will undoubtedly be a surge in economic growth throughout Orange County.

In the Spectrum News report, Professor Doti noted, “The COVID effect was greater negatively [in Orange County] than California because Orange County has an even greater proportion of leisure, hospitality, and tourism jobs.”

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Related: Is This the End of Disneyland Single Rider?

OC Register reports the following about California’s economic recovery, which is well below the national average:

Yet, while much of the national economy reopened in the summer as the pandemic’s growth temporarily cooled, California took a more cautious path. GDP stats show the ongoing restrictions created a drag on key California industries.

It is important to note that OC Register’s article looks at the state of California as a whole, while Chapman University’s economic forecast is specifically related to Orange County.

There is certainly a chance that, as the COVID-19 vaccine begins to become available to the general public, coronavirus cases begin to taper off, and Disneyland Resort is eventually allowed to reopen its theme park gates, Orange County will begin to see a sharp spike in its economic recovery sometime in 2021.

What are your thoughts? Do you think there is home for economic recovery in Southern California next year? Let us know in the comments. 

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