Upstate New York's economy is gradually reopening, but what comes next for businesses that have been closed for two months? What about the millions of workers who have lost their jobs?

Experts and lawmakers are asking those questions now. 


What You Need To Know

  • Unemployment is at Great Depression levels.

  • How swift the recovery will be depends on a lot of factors.

  • Businesses will have to figure out how to change.

  • Many jobs will change too.



On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York's Capital Region can reopen on Wednesday for manufacturing, construction and some retail for curbside pickup. The development comes after two months of a frozen economy, leaving millions of people out of work. 

"This is the most challenging in our lifetime," said Assemblywoman Pat Fahy. "We truly have not seen anything like this."

Fahy wants a massive jobs program, and she is reaching back to the Great Depression, the last time the U.S. economy faced a similarly daunting unemployment rate.

Fahy is calling for a plan similar to the New Deal's Works Progress Administration to restore the jobs that have been lost. The proposal would almost certainly require federal aid.

"There are ways to re-employ them and do it in a productive manner, but we need those federal dollars for temporary job creation," she said. 

But businesses will also face challenges. Jayson Kratoville of SUNY Albany's Center for Security and Preparedness says businesses need to think now about what they will look like after the restrictions are lifted. 

"It's going to require a ton of creativity," said Kratoville, the center's interim director. "I think that's what crisis does is it creates challenges to think outside of their comfort zone." 

And what about working from home? For office workers, it may still go back to some form of normal. 

"As places start to bring people back into offices, there's going to be a demand for that face to face contact," Kratoville said.