Report: Routt County economy improving

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— The most recent Fast Facts report compiled by Yampa Valley Data Partners indicates the local economy continues to improve, said Scott Ford, a consultant for the nonprofit organization that disseminates data about the community.

Fast Facts provides a snapshot of the local economy at certain points in time using several economic indicators. Ford said no one indicator is better than another, but when combined they are the pieces of the regional economic puzzle.

“What the data does, over a period of time, is try to put that in perspective,” Ford said. “What it’s staying at this stage in the game is that the majority of this is in our rearview mirror. We’re climbing out of this.”

The economic stress indicator, which measures the balance between jobs and workforce, was positive in September for the third consecutive month after nearly 40 negative months, Ford said. He cautioned, however, that a rate too high could lead to labor shortages, just as a rate too low leads to high unemployment.

Ford said other positive indicators include a slowed foreclosure rate, which was slightly less in September (1 in 319) than in August (1 in 325). And he said the amount of gross retail sales in June increased 24 percent to $83.6 million from June 2010.

Because the data comes from so many different sources, some of it is reported monthly, quarterly or even annually.

Ford added that some of the indicators weren’t as positive.

He said Fast Facts, which was released in late October, indicated no net change in private-sector jobs in the past year, but an 18 percent decline since the first quarter of 2008. He said in the past year, the number of private establishments, or private businesses, decreased more than 6 percent.

But Ford said the average weekly wage has increased slightly, 1.4 percent, since last year. He said there are fewer employees working more hours, which likely means fewer part-time jobs.

And Ford added that the indicator that is used as a predictor of residential construction points to an increase in activity still being years away.

“I’m optimistic, and things are OK,” Ford said, “but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hardships in this economy.”

Community comments

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(kathy foos) sun says...

Ill take your word I guess,this article does not really say anything.
South Routt is the area that has not over-expanded like Steamboat has.Maybe the building in Steamboat is over for good except for remodels.We have opportunitys in South Routt ,getting the Stagecoach Ski Area opened would be the ticket.Making South Routt independent of Steamboat is imperative.Landscape is not ruined yet down here like it is in Steamboat, if people are careful never will be.We need to hire local contractors,teachers,professionals from our area only I guess.Our children will be able to return to a job in this town after college,instaed of moving away to make a wage. .South Routt locals working makijng good money where they grew up.Investors should interested in South Routt where there are still opportunitys to create what a community and tourists want.You have all crowded into Steamboat and overrun it,it looks like a downtown city on the overcrowded front range,Aspen ,Vail, Breck,you all look the same hire the same.You have already fulfilled your future needs and more.
We are free to expand ,you are all worn out in that department.

Posted 12 November 2011, 8:32 a.m. Suggest removal

(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

South Routt economic development is hampered by hwy 131 being a relatively lightly traveled highway and 4 population centers which precludes having a strong central commercial center.

It is a huge drain on South Routt's economy the way Stagecoach is managed by County as an overflow suburb of Steamboat with their willingness to approve residential developments. And Phippsburg which being on the highway and centrally located is not allowed by the County to expand.

Posted 12 November 2011, 10:09 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) BeCoolHoneyBunny says...

sun, I know you dislike oil and gas, but why the disdain for the space bar?

Posted 12 November 2011, 12:28 p.m. Suggest removal

(rhys jones) highwaystar says...

I think the punctuation in lieu of spaces shows a brilliant conservation of area. Like a forest of words, each clamoring for attention. Makes the post seem shorter too, huh?

Posted 12 November 2011, 3:11 p.m. Suggest removal

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