He correctly predicted real estate sales in Teton County, Wyoming, would hit bottom during the fourth quarter of 2009. In his most recent column in the Jackson Hole News&Guide, Jonathan Schechter hypothesizes the overall local economy hit bottom in recent weeks.
“The bleeding has been stanched,” writes Schechter, an economist who writes biweekly.
As I’ve written before, Schechter is a must read for anyone interested in the future of this community. And few people have been as proactive in preserving the natural assets that continue to define quality of life in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as proven by his nonprofit 1% for the Tetons.
Why does he think we’ve hit bottom? The answer is in the Classifieds section of the newspaper. Highlights of the column, headlined “Ad inches add up to positive news,” include:
- “When judged by help-wanted ads, our economy seems to have crested in the winter of 2007-08. The number of ads started slowing in the spring of 2008 (around the time Bear Stearns collapsed). After that, things went into an 18-month free fall, finally stabilizing late last year, albeit at a record-low level.”
- “Total newspaper pages and help-wanted ad inches are still below where they were a year ago, and way below where they were at their peak. However, starting in October or so, the tide seems to have turned, and at a minimum, the rate of decline has flattened out. “
- “Whether growth will occur anytime soon is anyone’s guess, but judging by newspaper advertising, it does seem that the hypothesis is true, and the local economy has hit bottom.”
Additionally, Schechter looks closely at the available rental properties to support his hypothesis. He promises his next column, due April 7, will address the same topic with a different set of data. Be sure to pick up a hard copy or read it online.