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Economic Forecast & Trends 2021 (Recap)

2021 Economic Forecast & Trends Recap

The Los Angeles Business Journal was excited to host the 2021 Economic Forecast & Trends virtual event on Wednesday afternoon, January 27th.

The event featured two lively virtual panel discussions featuring leading experts on the hottest topics on the minds of LA area business leaders at the start of this year. The panels offered an insightful look back on the unprecedented challenges and silver linings of last year while providing a deep dive into how the economy will rebound in 2021.

Our outstanding group of panelists and moderators examined the issues as they shared their experiences and predictions for the year to come. The panels this year focused on the hot-button topics of “What to Expect” and “What’s New,” with expert insights and analysis about the forthcoming return to normalcy and the effects that too will have on the economic climate.
The online audience had the opportunity to learn from and engage with some of the region’s leading business minds in the following discussions:

Moderated by Jim Kruse of DPI Retail, who also shared his own insights on the effects the pandemic has had on the businesses of the region, this panel made up of Alice Issai of Adventist Health Glendale, Laurie Lustig-Bower of CBRE, El Warner of Colliers International and Yannis C. Yortsos of USC Viterbi School of Engineering cut to the heart of how each of the sectors they work in and are authorities on stand to move forward in 2021, along with the risks and challenges companies face. Topics explored included everything from technology’s changing role and the commercial real estate forecasts to the status of the multifamily real estate market, and the effects the COVID vaccine is likely to have on our economy here in Los Angeles.

Jack Karagulleyan of KPMG LLP, Kandee Lewis of Positive Results Center and Deepika Sandhu of Connor Group discussed an array of topics pertaining to our rapidly evolving legislative, financial and societal landscapes and what they each may hold in store in 2021 for the businesses of the region. This included forecasts on the effect of the new administration, tax planning shifts, how companies can prepare for IPOs in 2021, human resources issues, community relations and social justice issues, among other hot topics.


Alice Issai
Adventist Health Glendale

“The pandemic has pushed us to innovate and I think we’ll see things like telehealth services around for the long-term. If we can monitor minor symptoms, whether it’s COVID or something else, remotely, that gives us capacity to care for more acute patients in the hospital.”

Jack Karagulleyan
Managing Director, Tax

“The new administration and Congress may impact businesses as they continue to face economic uncertainty and disruption. Companies need to be prepared for potential tax law changes from new legislations.”

Kandee Lewis
Chief Executive Officer
Positive Results Center

“Black Women Leaders must have a seat at the decision-making table of power and influence to expand, build and implement sustainable programs and services to impact our communities positively. It’s equally important to have investments and funding from philanthropy, public and private sectors to support our work.”

Jim Kruse
Chief Executive Officer
DPI Retail

“We all need to learn how to work in the rain, instead of waiting for the storm to pass.”

Laurie Lustig-Bower
Executive Vice President

“Southern California apartments are projected to see continued rent cuts through the second half of 2021 before beginning a robust recovery. The decline and recovery are forecasted to be led by Los Angeles which is projected to have rents bottom-out at 11% below the pre-pandemic peak. Once the vaccine is widely distributed, absorption should remain robust, building on strong employment fundamentals and a systemic regional housing shortage.”

Deepika Sandhu
Partner, Financial Operations
Connor Group

“There’s a lot of excitement around IPOs and SPACs in 2021. However, this enthusiasm needs a balance between the actual act of going public and the reality of being a public company. Companies must start thinking about getting the right processes, systems, and controls to be a well-functioning public company.”

El Warner
Executive Vice President
Capital Markets | Retail
Colliers International

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change. Below the thin layer of perceived distress is great opportunity.”

Yannis C. Yortsos
USC Viterbi School of Engineering

“2020 has been a historical moment for all humanity. It revealed our global interconnectedness, our common vulnerability, the power of science and technology to provide solutions, the agility to adapt, and the test of our values. The post-COVID world will be immensely shaped by these experiences, providing the ground for new mindsets, new opportunities and non-trivial challenges.”

Inside This Supplement

U.S. & Greater Los Angeles Economy: 2020 in Review and Outlook for 2021
The U.S. economy was wrought by the global pandemic and rallied by a subsequent rebound. Describing 2020 as a turbulent year would be an understatement. Recent key indicators and budding trends offer insight into what the commercial real estate outlook may look like in 2021… Read More

ESG: An Opportunity for Los Angeles Businesses to Lead a Global Movement
2020 laid bare many challenges – whether decades in the making or the product of unforeseen disruption – that the country must overcome… Read More

The Experts Weigh in on the Future of IPOs
The IPO and SPAC market in 2020 shattered records with 480 transactions, a 106% increase from 2019. What are experts expecting in 2021 as this race to the public markets unfolds… Read More

A Look at the Tax Changes for 2021
Staying abreast of a tax landscape constantly in flux may seem like a Sisyphean task for businesses already strained by a nearly yearlong pandemic… Read More

The Need for Rebuilding our Social Infrastructure
Racial and economic inequities require rebuilding our social infrastructure, securing long-term sustainability, and investment to address the disparities in health, housing, employment, and income… Read More

Report on LA’s COVID-19 Economic Response Notes Unprecedented Efforts and Innovations
Leading organizations in Los Angeles call for additional collaboration to address COVID-19 and future pandemics… Read More

First Application Round Ends for Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
Funding will support small businesses that have been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic… Read More

Canada: A Green Partner in LA’s Economic Recovery
It’s no secret, Canada and the United States face common challenges related to the current pandemic and reigniting their economies… Read More



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