Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bulletin's Business Index.

I love the Bulletin's "U. of O. Central Ore. Business Index."

Real data where the goal posts aren't moved each time.  I mean, maybe the interpretation does, but the data is consistent.

To me, it looks more or less like we're back to where we started the boom, roughly first quarter of 2004.  When all of us Bubble Blogs were trying to look into the future, a seven year recovery time -- to get back to square one -- was bruited about.  Well, this is about six years from the peak, so pretty close.

(That is, I expected the drop off to be worse than when it started, and for it to take seven year to get back to the point where the boom took off.  I didn't and don't expect the boom to ever take off again, just slower sustainable growth.  I don't think we're there yet.)

Of course, we were mostly talking about a housing bubble then.  Not the Great Recession, though one follows the other.

The building starts still seem really low to me, and not coincidentally the employment picture.

I always felt that tourism and retirement were going to save Bend -- and not grand projects like Juniper Ridge.  We built a lot of infrastructure during the boom and we definitely went overboard on retail and there was a chance that would all fall apart and we'd be stuck with empty, boarded up stores -- which would have been bad for tourism.

But there was enough fluff and overflow to keep retail going, especially downtown. 

Interesting that the job market hasn't recovered as much, which means -- I guess -- that stores and hotels and restaurants are making do with less employees.  I wonder, also, at the lack of solid waste --which would also seem to indicate that people are hanging on and using up their resources.

Hopes and dreams are keeping Bend afloat and we're lucky that we have a place where people are willing to invest their hopes and dreams.

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