Research / Economic Development


Policy Analysis | February 2021

Unemployment in the SLC Region Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Roger Moore

Last updated: February 19, 2021

Disclaimer: On November 30, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that the U.S. Department of Labor has inaccurately reported the number of people filing for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Due to the historic number of individuals filing for benefits since March, and states' frequent backlogs processing the claims, the traditional method of reporting unemployment has not accurately captured the number of unique individuals claiming benefits, according to the GAO report. For example, if a person files for five weeks of benefits in a given week, the Department of Labor typically counts it as five separate claimants, not one. This method of reporting normally is a reliable proxy for the number of unique individuals claiming benefits, but it cannot account for states' processing delays and claimants retroactively applying for benefits during the pandemic.

This SLC Policy Analysis will continue updating the figures as they are reported weekly by the Department of Labor. While the absolute figures may not be accurate, the trend levels remain helpful for understanding the overall employment outlook.

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SLC Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee Virtual Program
Webinar | August 2020

New and Expanded Revenue Streams

Cody Allen

SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee Virtual Program

Presiding Officer: Representative Penny Houston, Georgia; Chair, SLC Fiscal Affairs & Government Operations Committee

As advances in technology both create new and reshape existing markets, states are looking to regulate and tax these emerging business models. These include digital streaming services, electronic goods, ridesharing services and short-term rentals, among others. With consumers shifting to embrace this new economy, and the market for digital goods and services growing exponentially, these emerging markets are replacing prior, and broadening existing, sources of state revenue. This program highlights how states' efforts to tax these new revenue sources and the economic impact these emerging markets could have on the Southern region. With the COVID-19 pandemic contributing to a significant economic downturn, supplementing existing revenues will be a necessary tool for policymakers facing possible budget reductions in fiscal year 2021 and beyond.

Presentation:

Brian Sigritz, Director of State Fiscal Studies, National Association of State Budget Officers, Washington, D.C.


Leveraging Opportunity Zones for Economic Development
Webinar | August 2020

Leveraging Opportunity Zones for Economic Development

Roger Moore

SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee Virtual Program

Presiding Officer: Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, Alabama; Vice Chair, SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee

The Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 included new incentives for stimulating private investment, economic development and job creation in underserved communities, designated as Opportunity Zones. According to the IRS, there are more than 8,700 Qualified Opportunity Zones nationally, including more than 3,000 in the SLC region. Under the program, individuals or entities that invest in economically distressed areas qualify for capital gains tax breaks. This program outlines the benefits and concerns surrounding Opportunity Zones and explores what actions states and localities can take to ensure that tax-advantaged funding is delivering sustainable investment in underserved communities.

Presentations:

Jorge González, Research Analyst, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.
Brady Meixell, Research Analyst, Urban Institute, Washington, D.C.

2020-2021
Chair

Representative
Manly Barton

Mississippi

2020-2021
Vice Chair

Representative
Nathaniel Ledbetter

Alabama

Immediate
Past Chair

Representative
Jeanie Lauer

Missouri

Committee
Liaison
Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Senior Policy Analyst


The SLC Economic Development, Transportation & Cultural Affairs Committee examines issues related to infrastructure, transportation, economic progress and cultural strengths in the Southern region. Discussions and reports of the committee have focused on Southern state actions to bring manufacturing operations of national and foreign companies to the region, as well as the importance of ports, roads and railways for the movement of manufactured goods. The committee has a long history of studying the impact of the Panama Canal expansion and international trade with Mexico, Canada and China on Southern state economies.

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