Lansing-East Lansing 2021 Economic Outlook
Compared to the state, the post-COVID employment losses in 2020 were lower for the Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area. However, anticipate that the Lansing labor market will face greater headwinds due to its dependence on state and local government sectors. The repercussions of COVID-19 on public sector employment are not well understood yet, but what is evident is that there are significant current and projected budget shortfalls that need correcting. Such shortfalls can be shored up by increasing tax revenues or reducing public expenditures. In addition, Lansing’s goods producing sectors have shown relatively tepid growth compared to the state. This is expected to continue in the post COVID recovery – further hampering employment growth projections. Expect average annual employment losses of about 9.3 percent for 2020, and only a partial reversal of those losses in 2021. We anticipate it will require at least a couple of years before we see Lansing area employment return to pre-COVID levels. Despite overall labor market weakness, we expect the Lansing-East Lansing metropolitan area to exhibit lower overall rates of unemployment compared to the state.
Alternatively, expect relative stability in overall economic output in the Lansing-East Lansing area. The 2020 production declines will be less severe, while the 2021 expansion will be less robust than that seen at the state and national levels. This is part of the moderating effects of housing the state capitol. However, due to job losses, we anticipate personal income growth to trail the state in 2020 and to just keep pace with the state in 2021.
Updated December 28, 2020