Boost in retail sales expected in Moffat, Routt Counties


Yampa Valley Partners Director Kate Nowak thinks the economy may be taking a turn for the better based on recent gross retail sales forecasts.

Nowak and Scott Ford, director of the Routt County Economic Development Cooperative, have predicted a boost in retail sales in both Moffat and Routt counties, according to Yampa Valley Partners’ third quarter regional economic forecast newsletter.

Gross retail sales in Moffat County are expected to top $35.8 million dollars in July, a 4.9-percent increase from 2009, according to the newsletter.

Partners estimated $35.6 million in retail sales for June, a 4.1-percent increase from 2009 in Moffat County.

Nowak said she expects sales to continue on a pattern of recovery from 2009’s economic slump.

The organization has also predicted retail sales in Moffat County to see a 4.3-percent increase in August and a 4.9-percent increase in September from 2009.

According to the newsletter, the organization expects Moffat County to see $32.2 million of retail sales in August and $31.8 million in September.

Gross retail sales include all tangible goods purchased by consumers or businesses in Moffat County, from things like clothes to food and business expenses to inventory, Nowak said.

Ford said the biggest contributors to the gross retail sales on the business side are the energy industry and its supporting industries.

On the consumer side, groceries, dining out, vehicle repairs and miscellaneous retail purchases are the largest contributors, Ford said.

Nowak feels the retail sales estimations are “pretty strong” and “fairly accurate.”

“I think we’ll be pretty close unless some kind of an event happens,” she said. “But, we’ve looked at the numbers and what typically happens in this quarter is going to happen this year. I don’t see anything different unless we get some kind of catastrophe. I think we will just chug along.”

Quarterly economic forecasts provided by Yampa Valley Partners are based on statistics and trends to determine where economic indicators such as retail sales and unemployment may land in coming months, Nowak said.

“The only thing we have to look at is the past,” Nowak said. “We are going to make some logical, reasonable assumptions on what we can see in the future.”

Nowak said Moffat County follows national sales trends for the most part.

“When you look at the trends, I think in summer people are taking vacations, spending money (with) back to school — those are all helpful things that we can see in the next quarter,” she said.

Routt County is projected to collect $74.1 million in retail sales in July, a 4.9-percent boost from 2009.

Nowak said she expects increases in retail sales to continue throughout the year baring minor bumps in spending.

She said retail sales predictions point to a “slow and steady” recovery of the economy in the Yampa Valley.

“The economy, in general, is very fragile right now, and I think that we are going to see some encouragement, but that is not going to be, ‘Yahoo, we are going for a ride,’” she said.

Another indicator leading Nowak to think the economy may be edging out of a recession is consumer confidence and spending indexes.

According to the Gallup International 14-day rolling average, consumer spending reached about $56 per day in January in the U.S.

In June, consumer spending had reached a high of about $75 per day, and as of June 28, consumer spending was about $64 per day.

Despite the ups and downs of consumer spending, Nowak said there seems to be an “encouraging” general upward trend of spending.

“Consumers are beginning to loosen their wallets, but they still are conservative,” she said.

Darcy Trask, director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, said she felt the predictions were “good news” for area businesses.

“I think anything that is not trending to the negative is very good news,” she said. “I feel like our retailers can certainly use that data to plan as they look out at the next few months for inventory control and pricing and merchandising.”

She said many industries are still down from where they were in 2008, but above sales from 2009.

“Some businesses are up from a year ago, some are holding steady, but most that I have talked to seem to feel like the decline is behind them if the national economy continues to recover,” she said.


taxslave 6 years, 9 months ago

So now they're psychic are they. They know what all of you are going to spend in approach.

What an idiot......consumer spending is way, way down and totally in a downward trend....there has been absolutely NO upside to consumer spending. Make these people tell you WHERE they get this info before you pass along another lie.

The lies just keep on coming....or they're very stupid.

You pay for this leadership.

Read either or for the truth of the economy.

Liars, liars pants on fire.


als362 6 years, 9 months ago

While some people might just call names and speak ignorance towards some subjects. The rest of us that have some manners realize that an upturn in the economy might come from summer travelers, rodeos, and the celebrations we have had recently. It is truly a shame that there are people that can only cast doubt and sarcasm on everything that is persented to them.


taxslave 6 years, 9 months ago

Either you know truth and believe it or you embrace the lie. I'm sick of the lies, especially when so many are hurting so badly. Call it what you may, sarcasim and name calling, you betcha...but not to those we pay to govern.

Expect lots of government layoffs at state, local level By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

Here’s another headwind for a sputtering job market: State and local governments plan many more layoffs to close wide budget gaps.

Up to 400,000 workers could lose jobs in the next year as states, counties and cities grapple with lower revenue and less federal funding, says Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s

The development could slow an already lackluster recovery. Friday, the Labor Department said employers cut 125,000 jobs, mostly because 225,000 temporary U.S. Census workers completed their stints. The private sector added 83,000 jobs, fewer then expected, as the jobless rate fell to 9.5% from 9.7%.

Layoffs by state and local governments moderated in June, with 10,000 jobs trimmed. That was down from 85,000 job losses the first five months of the year and about 190,000 since June 2009.

But the pain is likely to worsen. States face a cumulative $140 billion budget gap in fiscal 2011, which began July 1 for most, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


taxslave 6 years, 9 months ago

How about this one for a wake up call? We are truly in a seriously bad situation.....and they keep telling the same lie, over and over....recovery around the corner. When people start to read again and quit listening to the government propaganda on the main stream media you might start to see yourself what's really up.

I went to the commissions and warned them. They did NOT listen....

Graduates warned of record 70 applicants for every job Class of 2010 told to consider flipping burgers or shelf stacking to build skills as they also compete with last year’s graduates Jeevan Vasagar, education editor The Guardian, Tuesday 6 July 2010

Graduates are facing the most intense scramble in a decade to get a job this summer, as a poll of employers reveals the number of applications for each vacancy has surged to nearly 70 while the number of available positions is predicted to fall by nearly 7%.

The class of 2010 have been told to consider flipping burgers or stacking shelves when they leave university as leading firms in investment banking, law and IT are due to cut graduate jobs this year.

Competition in the jobs market is fiercer now than for the first "post-crunch" generation of students, last year, when there were 48 applications for each vacancy.

The number of applicants chasing each job is so high that nearly 78% of employers are insisting on a 2.1 degree, rendering a 2.2 marginal and effectively ruling out any graduates with a third, according to the survey published tomorrow.


taxslave 6 years, 9 months ago

Water toxicity report for gulf of mexico....yet the coast guard tells them to go in and swim....kinda like the movie JAWS, remember the 4th of July money weekend. Four people died yesterday from respiratory failures, including a 2 year old, from the fumes in the ocean. The water is poison.

We are surrounded by liars. If you know anyone in the Gulf, call them today and tell them to GET OUT ASAP.


Scott Ford 6 years, 9 months ago

Hi Tax Slave - I can tell you are an individual of great passion and belief. I have a huge respect for that and your willingness to post on the Craig Daily Press' blog. I am surprised how many folks read the blogs of both the Craig Daily Press and the Steamboat Today. I enjoy a good exchange of perspectives with a commitment to civility. There is very little benefit from calling folks names. That is why I use my real name; I am not afraid to own my opinions. I also try to focus primarily on local economic issues.

I will be the first to admit that there are things occurring on the national and world economic stage that are way beyond my understanding and I am in no position to debate anyone. I know that for some this national/global economic uncertainty is so scary that buying gold, stocking up on ammunition and finding a cave to hide in makes perfect sense.

We are seeing the consumer spend more albeit at a very low level. An increase of 4 to 5% over 2009 levels is very reasonable based on the data specific to Moffat County. Simply put based on 10+ years of monthly data consumers in Moffat County behave 80% of the time like their 309 million fellow Americans.

In late 2008 as the reality of this recession settled over the consumer there was a 44% drop in average daily spending. This decline occurred over a 5 month period. Collectively the American consumer jumped off a cliff and hit bottom in March 2009. Since May/June of 2009 daily consumer spending has hovered in the $60 to $65 dollar range. Over the past few months spending has been trending upward a wee-bit. Will it get back to $93 per day spending level? I doubt it anytime soon. Nor should it return to those levels if spending at that level is as a result of the consumer taking on more debt.

The primary purpose of forecasting Gross Retail Sales at the county level is to help local retail businesses. Allow me to illustrate. It is tempting for any business to blame the economy for just about everything if things are not going well. I fully understand that it is not an easy time. If, however, the forecast is for gross retail sales in July 2010 to be about 5% more than 2009 sales and your store at the end of July 2010 was down 10% over the prior year something is going on beyond just the economy. The decline cannot be blamed fully on the economy. It is too easy to blame the economy for everything and ignore flaws in the business model that could be fatal to the business if not addressed.

Applying sound forecasting methodology is a proactive approach being taken at the local level that can have a tangible impact and benefit to local businesses in Moffat County. It is far better than doing nothing and just blaming the economy. Hopefully you would agree.

I would welcome to hear your ideas and those of others that participate in these postings how to best help local businesses in the Yampa Valley.


native_craig_guy 6 years, 9 months ago

Scott, So if Moffat County residents spend like the other Americans 80% of the time why are we seeing an increase in consumer spending while the rest of America is not? I will be brutally honest that I do as little shopping in Craig America as possible. For any large purchases I travel to outside the valley. The reason is cost. Merchants have inflated their cost of goods to match the artificial inflation that greedy real estate agents and other business owners have imposed on our local economy. I understand that possibly due to the lower demand (goods are purchased in smaller quantities by local business as opposed to purchases made by businesses in a city with a larger market) would constitute a slightly higher cost here in Craig. What I do not understand is how large retail chains (Wal-Mart, Kum & Go, Safeway, City Market) who purchase their goods in high quantity are dramatically more expensive than their same stores in Denver or Grand Junction? We are being held hostage by local merchants. It is cheaper to drive to Denver and get a load of lumber than it is to purchase it from our local store. This is ridiculous. I do firmly believe that real estate in Craig has been artificially inflated because of our "close" proximity to Steamboat. This is ridiculous. Our land values are not the same as Steamboat, yet the Realtors in this town have come to their own conclusion that everything is worth dramatically more than it actually is. The cost of living is higher in Craig than the cost of living in larger cities. Why is that? Greed.


taxslave 6 years, 9 months ago

Hi Scottford,

You write very well. I have been alert as a fiddle since late '08 with the collapse of Bear Sterns.

I watched the events unfold in writing. I do heavy research daily but do not watch tv. I went to the commissioners, the bankers, church leaders, neighbors, etc. to warn them of what was coming and to NOT build anything or take on any further debt. The housing bubble was caused by too much construction. Those of us watching saw there was not enough jobs or money coming down the pike to support the projects. Deficit financing falling off cliff, OTC derivitives at trillions.

We are not only facing an economic event. We are facing a MAJOR currency event because of the printing press at the Fed. Reserve.

Do you realize over 10 million people just lost their jobs along the entire Gulf shoreline. Add that figure to the already 17.5% (real unemployment figure), and what have you got?

The lodging tax will not produce much more than a burden on the stragglers that may wonder through. It's totally down hill.

People need to down size. The only survivors of this will be the "best of the best" and most gov. jobs. States are cutting back to minimum wage for their workers, etc.

What I see coming is one tax increase after another to support all our daily fixes and those who are paid directly by taxes if we don't change our thinking right now.. There are too many of them with salaries and benefits to high to sustain. Not enough people with jobs to support gov. without tax's simple math but try to explain this concept to a commissioner.

I appreciate your comment and thanks for seeing the passion in me. I'm really concerned for those who don't see it coming and am furious at those who are supposed to "warn their people" but aren''s that bad. Remember that shock & awe is the tactic. We will wake up to $10/gal/gas overnight. This will blow EVERYONE's budget and it's in the very near future.

Rome is burning!


Scott Ford 6 years, 9 months ago

Hi Native Craig Guy - The retail leakage patterns in Craig are a bit of a mystery at this time. We did a Consumer Preference study in Steamboat Springs in 2003 and the patterns it identified then are still valid today.

I use this study all the time in helping folks thinking of starting a consumer based business in Routt County. I use it to help identify the size of the potential market. The retail sales forecast is based on actually gross retail sales that have occurred in Moffat County. Without question, leakage is occurring but it is recognized since actual gross retails sales data was used.

We need to do a consumer preference study in Craig. Right now, we guess a wee-bit too much on how much leakage is occurring and we do not need to. The Craig/Moffat EDP was all set to do a study in the fall of 2008 - when I told them to put the study on hold as we started to see a dramatic decline in consumer spending. One of the challenges in doing this type of study is that humans are pesky - emotional creatures. They do not always behave in rational ways.

You have also identified that both Safeway and City Market use a different pricing structure for our respective communities compared to the metro areas. Why? Essentially, they can. My guess is that the Craig resident purchases about 95%+ of their groceries locally. I appreciate that there is more transportation cost - but … how much more? Who knows it is what it is. I am still a wee-bit surprised that Craig seems to be supporting three major groceries stores.

The biggest predictor of consumer spending is household income. They pay us economist big bucks to figure that out. Moffat County's median household income in 2009 was $57,900. The United States was $51,200. When all the dust settles from this recession I think, we will learn that all of Northwest Colorado fared far better than we realize. There are counties in Colorado that would gladly trade places with Moffat County. In 2009, which will likely be the low spot of the recession we saw in Moffat County the number of jobs hold steady at 5,500 and almost 4% increase in total payroll. What's not to like? I know that there are some folks really struggling - but overall Moffat County did better than 57 of Colorado's counties. Just up the road, Routt County lost about 1,500 jobs and lost 8% in total payroll. Without question, some of these lost jobs were held by Moffat Residents. I will not be able to tease the magnitude of that out of the data until about 8 months from now.

Tax Slave - It is late and I have a very busy day tomorrow. I write back on Friday. I am not sure Rome is burning but it is getting pretty toasty outside.


native_craig_guy 6 years, 9 months ago

Scott, In regards to your statements about Routt County losing more jobs that Moffat lets look at why. Moffat County's economy is not based primarily off tourism. I am really curious about how many of the jobs lost in Routt were actually jobs that primarily dealt with the tourism or related industries. I wonder if next years figures for Routt are going to take into account the layoffs that occurred at Twenty-Mile. While "Routt" county lost jobs it is primarily Moffat County Residents who held those jobs. Do you know why Moffat County has a lot of people who work in Steamboat? Because Steamboat does not, has not, and will not allow for any form of lower income housing to come into that community. Instead of offering housing for the seasonal workers that support YOUR economy Routt started up a bus line to ferry workers back and forth. We get stuck with the dregs and illegals who work in Steamboat and live in Moffat. We do not need a study or "create" work for the EDP. Why are we continually dumping money and paying economists "big bucks" to analyze an economy that is essentially trapped.and being held hostage by our retailers. Gas Stations, Grocery Stores and everything in between make our lives more costly living in Moffat County. I will continue to make the vast majority of my purchases elsewhere because it is cheaper.


Scott Ford 6 years, 9 months ago

Hi Native Craig Guy - A person's choice to shop or not shop locally actually has a very limited impact on the local economy. There are two reasons for this.

Although it is tempting to focus on the gross retail sales figures, the important number to is how much personal income is generated from retail activity and what percentage that represents of total private sector income. In Moffat County, the Retail Trade is responsible for about 12% of personal income from the private sector. This is a wee-bit higher than one would see in metro counties of Denver that see a much larger influence of Big-Box stores. Everyday low prices are accomplished by buying as goods at the wholesale level as cheap as possible and keeping labor cost to a minimum.

It is also tempting to overestimate how often a "retail dollar" turns over. This is referred to as the multiplier. This is often grossly overestimated more based on hearsay and feelings than facts. At best a retail dollar spent in Moffat County turns over less than once and is more likely in the .8 to .7 range. To put it simply we make very little of what is sold locally.

So as a consumer I would encourage you to do what you feel is in your best interest. In all of the Yampa Valley with the exception of Food (groceries and dining out), health care and repair services we likely leak outside of the area 50%+. The whole purpose of doing a consumer preference study is to help businesses thinking of expanding and/or individuals thinking of starting a business what the local market potential is. It is a very useful tool to truly help local entrepreneurs. If you think your personal consumer, spending patterns are representative within a 3% margin of error of that of all the residents of Moffat County awesome. I just need to chat with you over a cup of coffee and you could save the CM/EDP $1,200.

The top three industry sectors for generating personal income in Moffat County are: 1) Utilities 2) Work in Routt County 3) Mining (That's right the wages/salary paid to Moffat residents from working for employers located in Routt County exceed the wages/salary paid by Moffat County employers associated in the mining industry / All of coal and oil & gas.)

We are a regional economy. It is important for government officials to have clearly defined political boarders; however, people and wildlife largely ignore political boarders. This why I do my best to assemble the data that looks at Moffat and Routt counties as whole unit. To do otherwise is a wee-bit silly and results in a distorted perspective of the economy.

For discussion purposes I call this whole unit Yampa County. I drive both sets of county commissioners a little crazy when discussing my mythical Yampa County - but they understand why this approach is necessary when discussing the local economy.

We likely have a lot more to chat about - but I am at my character limit with this post.


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