NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — According to health officials, the end of the coronavirus pandemic is near. However, the effects still linger in our region.

The Hampton Roads region had a 3% loss of job growth between February 2020 and May 2022, according to the ODU State of the Region report.

A bright spot for the region is the ports. “We should continue to make wise investments into the port,” said Dr. Robert McNab, Dragas Center director. “The more cargo we can move through the port, the more jobs there are. The more jobs there are, the more spending there is, the more economic growth there is.”

Dr. Suzanne Wright, an ODU Nursing professor, said good health is the top social capital a region can have, but it takes nurses to make more nurses. She explains creating more placements for nursing students to get clinical experience is important.

“We also have to get serious about institutional, merit-based raises for faculty and nurses,” said Wright. “It’s an incentive for retention. It’s an incentive for excellent performance.”

Another major topic in the report is the need for more affordable housing.

“If you pay more than 30% of your gross income on housing, you are a cost burden,” said Tim Komarek, ODU Economics professor. “If you are 50%, you are a cost burden.”

According to the report, renters are at a major disadvantage in Hampton Roads. The reports provide hurdles and recommendations regarding the housing issue. First, experts recommend removing the “red tape” for zoning approval and builders should create a variety of housing styles.

“The other thing we can think about is creating ways to increase the housing supply,” said Komarek. “That comes from policies or ways to finance and produce more housing.”