Economist: Indicators suggest continued recession |

Economist: Indicators suggest continued recession

EDP event draws renowned speaker, local small businesses

Joe Moylan

All indicators point to continued national and global recession, a leading economist said Wednesday during a presentation in Craig.

Dr. Carl Steidtmann, chief economist and director of consumer business at Deloitte research in New York City, was the keynote speaker at the Economic Update and Small Business Resource Fair, an event hosted by the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

In his presentation called "A Gaggle of Black Swans," Steidtmann said the U.S. lost more than nine million jobs at the peak of the recession.

Since then, only 1.9 million jobs have been restored. At the current pace, he said a full economic recovery may not occur until 2018 or later.

Steidtmann's presentation also narrowed its focus to Moffat County's economy.

He told 115 local residents in attendance that unemployment dropped more sharply in Moffat County than in the rest of the country when the recession hit, but that it is also currently recovering at a faster rate than the national average.

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Steidtmann attributes the local economic health to three primary factors: increasing energy development throughout Northwest Colorado, the steady price of commodities grown locally and an increasing demand for meat across the globe.

However, Moffat County's economy is connected to the rest of the country, which is affected by nations across the world.

Steidtmann said a number of key factors, or Black Swan events, that the world had never seen before are behind today's economic struggles.

Twenty or 30 years ago, American economists paid little attention to what was going on in other countries, Steidtmann said. Today, through improved technology and social networking, there is greater connectivity across the globe and more information is available quicker.

Steidtmann said changes in demographics are also important to the economic strength of a country because "your presence in the world depends on your presence in the world."

Steidtmann said fertility rates of every developed nation except the U.S. is declining, which is important, citing China as an example.

"China will get old before it ever gets rich," Steidtmann said.

Energy also plays a pivotal role in economic health, Steidtmann said. During the 1950s, energy, including gasoline, natural gas and utilities, was cheap. Since the development of alternative energy, the price of traditional energy has increased.

Steidtmann also discussed the role governance has on economies. He highlighted differences between the U.S. government, which he said is trending toward excessive regulation, and European governments without regulatory policies in place to handle potential future financial difficulties.

Steidtmann suggested solutions to U.S. economic woes.

He said the tax structure, health care system and entitlements including Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid need reform. But, he doesn't believe the government will pursue those changes.

When asked why, the economist quoted Winston Churchill.

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing," Steidtmann said, "after they've exhausted all other possibilities."

But, not all is lost when it comes to the economy, the speaker said.

Although struggling now, the American financial system is cyclical and there are inherent qualities imbedded in the economy to ensure that it always bounces back.

EDP Director Darcy Owens-Trask said Wednesday's event went well.

"We received a great response from the community," she said. "We had good vendors and great partners and sponsors, especially Todd Cecil at Colorado Lending Source who donated tickets so that eight high school students could attend.

"The information was not only good, but also very entertaining."

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State demographer shares trends:

Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner also spoke at the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership’s Economic Update and Small Business Resource Fair Wednesday at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion.

Garner focused on demographic trends small business owners may want to consider when thinking about how to market their products.

Trends included:

• Hispanic population growth in Moffat County and throughout the state:

— Between 2000 and 2010, Moffat County’s Hispanic population has grown by 58 percent.

• The size of Colorado households is shrinking:

— The number of two-parent households dropped 3 percent between 2000 and 2010.

— One-person households are growing.

• Aging Baby Boomers:

— People 55 to 64 is the fastest growing age group in Colorado.

— The number of Baby Boomers is increasing by 7 percent per year.

— There were 338,000 Baby Boomers in Colorado in 2000, 619,000 in 2010, and it’s estimated there will be 1.3 million by 2030.

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