CLAWING back the $282 million that Bendigo lost to the COVID-19 crisis will not be easy or straight-forward, an economist is warning.
Consultancy firm REMPLAN has released its first month-by-month breakdown to help guide councils and industries through the fledgling recovery.
REMPLAN's principal economist Matthew Nichol says that there are too many uncertainties to say when Bendigo will reclaim the entire $1.3 billion in output registered before the crisis.
"We'll just keep updating month by month," he said.
The figures show how Bendigo's economic collapse ripped through the city's biggest industries.
Manufacturers alone lost an estimated $54 million between February and May, or roughly a quarter of their output.
Construction lost an estimated $31.3 million, or about 15 per cent.
Mr Nichol suspects the arts and recreating industry will be the slowest to recover. It lost an estimated $6.7 million in output between February and May, or 44.6 per cent of its value.
"Whether you are talking about sport or the arts, these activities involve the interaction of large numbers of people in close proximity," Mr Nichol said.
"We expect these activities will be restricted for the longest period of time."
Some sectors will rebound more slowly than others, Mr Nichol said.
Retailers lost $20 million but could have a relatively straight-forward recovery compared to the professional, scientific and technical services sector, which lost $8 million.
That is is because retail companies' were often shutting or laying off staff as their revenues declined.
Those in scientific and technical services often wanted to hold on to highly trained staff and kept doors open even as their revenues were hit.
Mr Nichol is hoping to see every industry recover every month but says there will be no givens.
"It's not only about looking at what industries are operating in a region. It's also about the particular types of operations we see in each region's industries," he said.
"The US Department of Labor has published ... this proximity index. It's basically about the space a particular worker requires."
Mr Nichol said many people have been surprised that the health and service sector lose more than $25 million.
"A lot of people have assumed that everything health related has been really busy. That's not actually been the case," he said.
"A lot of people have been putting off visits to GPs and allied health services."
The sector also includes services like childcare, which have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.
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