PI Editorial: Feel free to stop holding your breath for a recession
Every year we look forward to the state of the economy forum organized by the Glenwood Chamber Resort Association.
It’s a great encapsulation of housing, unemployment, wage and industry trends and more — probably the best source for insight we have heading into the summer tourism season.
This year was of particular interest as we’ve felt a bit of a separation between our local economy and the national economy. So, what did keynote speaker Nathan Perry, a professor at Colorado Mesa University, have to say?
While some signs point to a recession in the next 9-18 months, other signs seem to point to no recession. That might sound like a choose your own adventure answer, but it’s not. Rather, while a recession is possible it is likely the impacts could be limited or the duration shortened because of the overall strength of the economy. Inflation remains an issue, but unemployment is the lowest it’s been since the 1960s.
Locally, there is a lot of positive news as well. Wages have grown, unemployment is incredibly low and generally industries are nearing 2019 economic levels, showing basically a full recovery from the pandemic years. Looking at the birth rate, death rate and natural migration rate for Garfield County and we could be looking at population growth by double-digit percentages in the next 20 years.
That’s probably unlikely, however as our rising cost of living spurs those looking at Colorado to head elsewhere. So, we’ll likely see growth but not as much as currently estimated. That’s not to say that all population growth is a good thing, but communities that see anemic growth of 2% or less typically experience an economic downturn or flattening.
Something that’s also of interest? Energy development is nowhere near its heyday in Garfield County, but it still remains a significant part of our local economy. Blending that with our tourism industry has meant that we’ve staved off some of the bigger economic challenges being experienced by other counties in northwest Colorado.
We’ll close it out by saying our biggest concern — housing remains at the forefront of our worries about the economic future here. Our businesses can’t thrive if they can’t hire — and people can’t be hired if they can’t afford to live here.
But if we figure that out, the future could be looking pretty good in Glenwood Springs and Garfield County at large.
The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher/Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Mark Fishbein and Amy Connerton.
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