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Oakland County Executive David Coulter gives an update on COVID-19 cases and response, March 21, 2020 at the L. Brooks Patterson Building Conference Center in Waterford. (Photo: Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press)

The COVID-19 pandemic hit Oakland County early and hard, an economist said Monday, and while consumer spending has largely recovered, the number of small businesses open is about 25% below where it was before the coronavirus outbreak.

An annual economic report estimates Oakland County lost about 156,000 jobs in the second quarter of this year, which was nearly the same amount as the county’s job losses over the entire decade of the 2000s.

“We share County Executive (David) Coulter’s assessment that the economy cannot recover completely until the public health situation improves and workers and consumers can go about their daily lives safely,” said Gabriel Ehrlich, director of the University of Michigan Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics