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ODU State of the Commonwealth Report to Be Presented to a National Audience

Old Dominion University's State of the Commonwealth Report is going national.

The annual report, which analyzes economic and other topical issues facing Virginia, is released near the end of each calendar year. However, national economic advocacy group REMI is sponsoring a webcast presentation of the 2020 State of the Commonwealth Report, complete with financial figures updated in the two months since that report was completed initially. It will be the first time one of the influential annual reports will be presented to a national audience.

The free REMI guest webinar is scheduled for 2 p.m. Feb. 24. It can be accessed at the following Registration Link.

Lead report author Robert M. McNab, director of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, said ODU economists are predicting a strong economic rebound in 2021. But he added the economic costs of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for years.

"Over the past 10 months, we have witnessed one simple truth: public health and economic activity are two sides of the same coin," McNab said. "Virginia has fared better than many other states in terms of job losses because of its relationship with the federal government and its science-based approached to public health."

McNab said that approach needs to continue in 2021.

"With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out throughout the commonwealth, we project Virginia will rebound sharply in 2021," he said. "If enough Virginians can be vaccinated, we expect unemployment to continue to drop through the year, consumer activity to rise, and government revenues to stabilize and then increase in the second half of 2021."

McNab and Barbara Blake, chief administrative officer of the Dragas Center, will be featured on the webcast, hosted by Peter Evangelakis, REMI's vice president of economics and consulting.

Eager to find a broader audience for the 2020 report, Blake reached out to REMI in early January to pitch the idea of a webcast presentation, especially in light of the unprecedented economic impact caused by COVID-19.

"A day later, after reviewing the report, they said, 'Let's do this.' Our first national SOC partnership was born. Reaching the tens of thousands of national and global REMI users is very exciting," Blake said.

REMI was founded in 1980 on the principle that government decision-makers should test the economic effects of their policies before they're implemented, generating innovative approaches to economic theory, practice, application and software development to guide the use of quantitative economic analysis in policy decisions.

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