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COVID-19 and Local Development Entities: Response, Recovery, and Shifting Priorities

Collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government.


The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will reverberate across North Carolina’s local economy for many years. We surveyed the state’s local economic development organizations (EDOs) in the fall of 2021 about how they responded to (1) the pandemic’s immediate crisis period as well as (2) their strategies for long-term recovery. The results show the uneven and bifurcated nature of the recovery process. While some communities have enjoyed a robust “return to normal,” for many the pandemic remains a serious and enduring threat to economic prosperity. We recommend that policymakers leverage proven EDO approaches, including collaborations with local nonprofits and service providers, as part of a more holistic and equitable pandemic recovery strategy.


There is growing evidence that the recovery from COVID-19 will echo patterns observed after the 2008 Great Recession. After the financial crisis, innumerable marginalized communities were left behind due to systemic policy failures at the federal, state, and local level. In the wake of what we hope will be the worst of the pandemic, those communities will need bold action from policymakers to turn the tide and create a vibrant economy for all.


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Morgan, Jonathan, and Jamie McCall. 2022. "COVID-19 and North Carolina’s Economic Development Organizations: Perspectives on Response, Recovery, and Shifting Priorities." UNC School of Government Community and Economic Development Bulletin, no. 10. Chapel Hill, NC. DOI: 10.46712/edo.covid.recovery.

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