WW presents "Distant Voices," a daily video interview for the era of social distancing. Our reporters are asking Portlanders what they're doing during quarantine.
The reopening of Oregon from COVID-19 closures hasn't been good for public health. But has it boosted the economy?
Depends on which part of the economy you're in, says Tim Duy. If you own a bistro? Times are still tough. Selling mountain bikes? Don't tell anybody but this was your lucky year.
When last we spoke to Duy, as a pandemic descended in March, the economic outlook for Oregon was at best bleak. Duy, arguably the leading expert on the Oregon economy and an adviser to the governor, saw few reasons for optimism after a catastrophic stoppage of nearly all business activity.
But since then, he's encountered a surprise: Consumer spending, which flatlined in March, has rebounded, but in new and unexpected shapes. Oregonians who kept their jobs find themselves spending less on travel and entertainment. For many, that's meant a trip to the hardware store.
"Things are not as bad as you'd expect," he says, "given how bad it is."
In this interview with WW Editor and Publisher Mark Zusman, Duy discusses pandemic-era spending habits, and why it's hard to disappear into the woods now.