The latest economic trends report is in – courtesy of our partners over at Nebraska Public Power District (hat tip to Jenny O). I’ve been looking forward to digging through this information because I wanted to see the measurable impact that the 2008 recession left in Valley County. Interestingly, little evidence of a recession was recorded. Yes, we have an economic dip, but overall, our resilience is shown in the fact we continue to create jobs at a much greater rate than statewide averages. That coincides with a return to pre-recession unemployment of 2.9%. You can see the results below.
Another area of interest I discovered what the condition of the local retail community. If you’re a frequent reader here, you’ve seen before how we’ve documented our efforts to promote buy local programs like the Ord Option and ChamberBucks to keep local consumer’s dollars in the local retail community. According to the study, our pull factor in Ord (a measure of the local retail economy’s strength) was at its highest levels since 1990. You got that right – the strongest its been in twenty-one years. That’s pretty impressive and another strong sign that our buy local programs are working. It also proves, in my opinion, the relative strength of the ag economy – retail does well when farmers are feeling flush with income.
While I’m thrilled with the news, not all of the report is glowing for us in Valley County. We still contend with out-migration factors of our youth; too many locals drive too far for work and our wages are still below the statewide average, even if they have improved significantly over the past 10 years. And while many of these factors are improving, there is still plenty of work to be done about each issue.
You can download the report here. We’d like to hear back from you – do you agree with the information found in the report? Are you feeling like the local economy is growing? We often hear from the loud local minority that it isn’t, but data doesn’t lie. Growth is occurring in Valley County.