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The road to recovery and equity in an already-challenged economy

As cities begin to reopen, factory workers return to work. (Source: AP Photos)

By Gordon Innes, Lauren Racusin, and Todd Rufo, Bloomberg Associates

If you were to rewind the clock four months, to pre-COVID February when unemployment sat at just 3.5 percent, you’d find many city economies nevertheless facing big challenges: shrinking numbers of middle-income jobs, skills gaps in the workforce that left many jobs unfilled, the constant threat of automation wiping out ever more professions.

Today, those challenges are still here — and compounded many times over by the economic damage triggered by the pandemic. Even city leaders who were around during the Great Recession or dot-com bust before it are dumbfounded by the scale, impact, and uncertainty of the current economic crisis.

We have been advising 15 U.S. cities as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Local Response Initiative as they navigate the situation. They’re a mix of medium and large cities from every region, some of which were humming economically before the pandemic, and others that were struggling. We’ve given all of them detailed economic and jobs forecasts, prepared by McKinsey & Company, Oxford Economics, and Burning Glass. And we’re in regular discussion with their economic development leaders about how to leverage these insights so they can prioritize their limited resources and budgets for the recovery ahead.

Read more in a blog from Bloomberg Cities