EDASC's Economic Forecast Night video debuts

Thursday, March 18, 2021

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EDASC on March 11 debuted its Economic Forecast Night video, presented by title sponsor Chmelik Sitkin & Davis, providing information on economic and business trends shaping Skagit County and the region.

With restrictions on gatherings, the event this year was held virtually as a pre-recorded video rather than the usual 400-person gathering. The video featured keynote speaker Chip Hunter, dean of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business, breaking down how businesses in the Pacific Northwest dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic and what to expect in 2021, citing the results of the college’s fourth annual Business in the Northwest Report released in February.

The report surveyed 1,050 businesses from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Key findings included that the pandemic altered the trajectory of the Pacific Northwest business climate, employers innovated and adapted, working from home presented challenges particularly for Generation Z employees, and that there is great optimism moving forward.

He also discussed the ever-important issue of income inequality and how the pandemic exacerbated those gaps.

“While many business leaders are optimistic and see a light at the end of the tunnel, there are still many challenges here,” Hunter said. “We know that in recent decades, the United States as a whole and our region have seen widening gaps between the haves and have-nots by nearly all measures you can look at.”

Hunter provided long-term solutions to the issue, including the need for business education.

EDASC CEO John Sternlicht opened the video with an organization update highlighting major accomplishments from 2020, including CARES Act grant administration, as well as the attraction and expansion of several new businesses.

EDASC administered 10 small-business grant programs, awarding a total of $2 million to 260 businesses and nonprofits.

EDASC also worked with many companies on their expansions and succession plans, including Mocean Canoes, Eddyline Kayaks and 5b’s Bakery.

For business attraction, it helped bring in multiple companies, including Commercial Aircraft Interiors, Bounty Marine, and chocolate manufacturer 8 Degrees.

Sternlicht also highlighted EDASC’s focus on Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) principles, which are now incorporated into all EDASC programs and initiatives.

Click here to view the Economic Forecast Night video.

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