ORLANDO, Fla. – The economic impact of the layoff of thousands of workers at Disney’s theme parks will be felt by the communities in which they operate, according to economists.
A Disney spokesperson told News 6 on Tuesday they could not say how many workers would be impacted in Central Florida or at any of their parks.
“I think it’s terrible. It’s terrible news,” Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said.
Diamond said he’s used to focusing on how much money tourists spend in the Orlando area.
Now, he said his focus has shifted.
“You think about people who are going to have challenges paying the rent, paying the mortgage, paying the other bills keeping their health insurance, and taking care of their family. That’s a huge impact on people,” he said.
Dr. Sean Snaith with UCF’s Institute of Economic Forecasting said the layoffs will be felt far beyond the gates of Disney.
“They won’t be using childcare, they may not be getting their hair styled frequently, they may not be going out to eat on the weekends,” he said.
The announcement of layoffs comes as some economic signs showed signs of improvement.
According to government numbers, fewer people are seeking unemployment than the height of the pandemic and fewer people are contracting COVID-19.
Diamond said tourists are slowly starting to spend money in the Orlando area again.
“This is going to be a sector who — ultimately — their recovery and the pace of recovery will hinge on the science surrounding COVID-19,” Snaith said.