January 29, 2013
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There has been a lot of discussion in the Yampa Valley recently around the topic of climate change. One interesting thing about the topic is that although a tremendous amount of data is available, there also is a seemingly equal amount of public confusion. The confusion is not limited to the Yampa Valley — at the national level there is an ongoing disconnect between what the climate data says and what people believe about climate change.
According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor, the unemployment rate in Moffat County continued its gradual descent through the end of 2013. CDL estimates place the December 2013 unemployment rate at 5.2 percent. That’s down from the December 2012 rate of 7.5 percent, and is a continuation of the downward trend in the 12-month moving average unemployment rate that began in November 2012.
Recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program indicates that local crime is on the decline. The FBI has been collecting, publishing and archiving crime statistics as part of the UCR program since 1929. The data is produced from the information received from more than 18,000 city, university, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies voluntarily participating in the program. The UCR data is the most comprehensive source for detailed crime statistics.
Since its inception in May, this column has focused on using the best available data to make predictions about indicators that are important to the local economy. We made several predictions in 2013, encompassing topics such as sales tax revenues, gasoline prices, population levels and electricity consumption levels. Now that we’ve rung in the New Year, it’s a good time to take a look back at a few of these predictions to see how we did.
The November 2013 edition of Yampa Valley Data Partners’ monthly FastFacts report paints a positive picture of the Moffat County economy across several different dimensions. In aggregate, the latest indicators point to an improving economic landscape and provide the basis for a positive outlook heading into 2014.
A recent Yampa Valley Data Partners analysis of Yampa Valley Electricity Association data indicates that electricity use in the valley has continued to grow steadily throughout the past several years even while many other economic and social indicators moved down in the wake of the Great Recession.
The impact of the Great Recession on Routt County was widespread There were visible signs of change such as falling real estate prices, declining retail sales and rising unemployment.
Although we have only three months of sales tax data for 2013, the data for the first quarter actually give us a pretty good idea of how collections are likely to shape up for the rest of the year because of the predictable monthly pattern in sales tax collections.
Yampa Valley Data Partners’ new economic analyst wrote about the future of the region’s energy production in the organization’s April newsletter.
Brandon Owens is joining the nonprofit organization as an independent contractor and adviser on data projects and products, according to a news release.