Yampa Valley Data Partners report shows recovery

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— The latest quarterly economic report from Yampa Valley Data Partners speaks of a local economy continuing a slow but steady rebound.

“For the past 24 months, both Moffat and Routt counties have been on the road to steady and sus­tain­ed ec­onom­ic re­covery,” states the non­profit group’s third quarter economic forecast. “This does not mean that there are not some bumps in the road that will at times slow the pace, but those bumps are most likely due to national and international news and the whims of Mother Nature.”

The report predicts there will be an increase in retail sales during the third quarter of 2012, that home prices have stabilized and that the economic stress factor due to employment will plateau in positive territory.

“There are more jobs than people,” said Kate Nowak, executive director of Yampa Valley Data Partners.

Local retailers might see an increase in their revenues during the third quarter when compared to the same quarter in 2011. While consumer confidence remains low at 64.7, it’s nonetheless an increase from last year’s corresponding confidence rating of 61.7.

“Locally it is projected that sales will increase modestly in the third quarter mainly because the consumer does not have the confidence in the economy, although they feel better about their situation than they did last year,” the report states.

One of the factors at play in the third quarter is weather — particularly the dought and fire conditions and how they affect visitor trends.

“The biggest challenge in achieving this modest increase (in retail sales) may be a decline in summer visitors anxious to enjoy the camping, hiking, fishing, tubing, etc.,” the report states. “How many will opt to simply stay home because of drought conditions and wildfire dangers?”

While retailers might see a bump in business, the report indicates they also might have a harder time finding employees.

The economic recovery carries over to the real estate industry, where the median listing price of a home has stabilized after decreasing 23 percent since the peak of the market in October 2008.

The report states the May 2012 median listing price for a home in Routt County was $516,000. It was $185,000 in Moffat County.

“The next six months may represent one of the best ‘value’ times for real estate purchases in the Yampa Valley that we’ll see for many years to come,” the report states.

Nowak said Yampa Valley Data Partners is particularly excited about new access to two databases of information.

“Basically, it gives us another slice of some data that we didn’t have access to,” Nowak said.

One of the databases allows the group to see how 5,500 jobs have been created in Routt County since 1995. Nowak said it showed start-up firms accounted for 48 percent of the new jobs, and firms that expanded accounted for 52 percent of the jobs.

“This really is a good economic development tool,” Nowak said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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