NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Gov. Bill Lee began his budget hearings on Monday morning as the state tries to rebound from the COVID pandemic.

“I’ve got gray hairs," University of Tennessee Ergen Professor of Business Dr. Bill Fox said. "I’ve been through a lot of recessions but I haven’t seen anything like this.”

Building material sales are up 24%.

“Housing starts have been incredibly good," Fox said.

Overall, Tennessee is rebounding from the big hit that coronavirus took on the economy.

Finance, banking, and sales tax revenues are stronger than expected. October is even above last year.

  • Grocery spending is up 14% 
  • On-line sales up almost 70%

However, there is bad news as hotel industry down is 47%. The restaurant and bar industry is down 17%. And 158,000 fewer Tennesseans are working now than in February.   

With stimulus checks spent and unemployment checks ending, there is concern that the spending will end too.

“I think it’s a year to be very prudent on how this plays out. And much more cautious," Fox said. “In my view, it’s an appropriate time to be very cautious.”

Budget hearings continue on Tuesday morning.

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