GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Memorial Day weekend is what some people call the unofficial start to summer. With inflation and Congress’ pending decision around the debt ceiling, Greenville’s Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Trent McGee, gives an economic outlook ahead of summer.

McGee said the local economy is slower this time of year in terms of a strong economy compared to what it was earlier in the year due to East Carolina University and Pitt Community College students graduating. But the city’s economy should get better throughout the summer.

McGee said large events, such as United Methodist Conference State Convention in mid-June, the North Carolina Junior Team Tennis State Championship in mid-July, ECU’s orientation schedule and the Little League Softball World Series in August will help boost the local economy.

“That will have a tremendous impact on the economy based on the 2022 analysis that we have from that,” said McGee. “When you factor in 12 teams, coaches, fans, families, etc., I mean the Little League Softball Series will likely generate over $1 million for the local economy and directly impact many local jobs.”

The nation is still dealing with a worker shortage. According to experts, an additional 2.5 million workers would need to be in the labor force for the participation rate to reach pre-pandemic levels. McGee said locally, the city isn’t where they want it to be yet. However, there’s good news.

“We’re seeing those who are 45, 50 plus now enter the workforce and you’re seeing businesses and companies now really look at talent that is of that age bracket that 45 to 60,” said McGee.

McGee said Eastern North Carolina continues to feel an impact from inflation, but from his perspective, recession numbers haven’t hit yet locally.

“I think Congress, with what they choose to do with the debt ceiling, will also play a factor in all of this. It will impact small businesses greatly if they do not reach a decision that is favorable to small businesses, but again, I think our economy here in Greenville is on the up and up,” said McGee.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports the country’s economy as a whole could be in for a bumpy year. McGee said heading into summer, he hopes recession numbers don’t hit and the City’s economy only goes up from here.