Mark Killian | September 15, 2020
This year’s Mega Camp got off to a slightly different start, fitting for such an unprecedented year. Rather than arriving to a massive standing ovation at the Austin Convention Center, Keller Williams co-founder and CEO Gary Keller entered the Moody Theater to the enthusiastic applause of 30,000+ home viewers (and a handful of KWRI employees). While the venue and the live studio audience were a little smaller this year, the stakes have never been higher for agents.
For just over an hour, Keller and vice president of learning Jay Papasan sat down for a casual, yet crucial, discussion about the market of the moment: how we got here, where we stand, and where we could be heading next. Before diving into the data, charts, and insights, Keller took a moment to remind everyone that “this is not meant to scare people; it is meant to inform.” Specifically, how to seize the opportunities awaiting agents on the other side of this shift. By the end of the presentation, the room (and group chat box) was filled with optimism and excitement.
History Repeats Itself
Keller and Papasan kicked off their keynote with a history lesson on how America has historically dealt with pandemics. “This is the backdrop for everything we’re going to talk about,” Keller said, noting the significance of current events. “This is what happened to us in March, but it’s not the first time.” Looking back at what happened during the pandemics of 1918 and 1957, Keller and Papasan wanted to temper the expectations of anyone holding out for a rapid economic recovery once a vaccine is released.
“What we want you to take away from this conversation is that even if a vaccine shows up, history says it’s going to take a year or two years for that to wind its way through the public and then have any sort of an impact on the economy,” said Keller.
To get a better idea of what our next year or two could look like, Keller and Papasan turned to the three biggest indicators of economic health: unemployment, GDP, and inflation.
The Unusual Unemployment Distribution
On average, the national unemployment rate sits right around 5%. Before, America was enjoying a 3.5% unemployment, making it one of the lowest on record. Then, the pandemic swept in, and that number shot up to as high as 14.7% during April. So why were some agents continuing to see record-setting transaction numbers? Because some industries were hit harder than others. Unlike professionals in the three highest-earning sectors, who have maintained around a 5% unemployment rate, the lowest-earning industry (leisure and hospitality) experienced a staggering 21.3% unemployment.
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