atangen | Dec 27, 2011 | Comments 0
By Sholeh Patrick
In aviation they call it a holding pattern. That’s the best way to describe the economic forecast for Idaho next year — more hang-gliding than jet-setting. The state economic experts in the Division of Financial Management aren’t exactly optimistic about 2012, but neither are they pessimistic. It all depends on perspective.
Getting the bad news out of the way first, between July and October of 2011 the U.S. Department of Labor lowered the odds of avoiding an official recession — from 3 to 1 down to 1.5 to 1. In July Idaho’s job growth was projected to be 2.2 percent annually; the latest figure from Idaho’s Division of Financial Management is 1.9 percent. It also depends on which industry. Construction remained stagnant in 2011 according to DFM, but manufacturing grew slightly in North Idaho and Boise, although it fell slightly in the rest of the state.
At least things aren’t dropping like they were a year or two ago. The economy is growing; it’s just growing more slowly than projected so the state and national forecasters have modified their projections. As the Idaho Department of Labor’s Alivia Body outlines in her column in this issue of North Idaho Business Journal, Kootenai County still shows at least some net job growth, even with the national average 9 percent unemployment rate. We’ve turned a corner, but we may just have to hang out here with close to the status quo through most of 2012.
That’s not doom and gloom; it’s an exercise in patience. In each individual life there are times to slow down, evaluate and take stock, perhaps even appreciate the half-full portion of the glass. This can be very healthy, especially in the 90-mile-a-minute lifestyle which defines modern American society. Why not see 2012 as the year of the tortoise? It was he, not the impatient and overconfident hare, who won the race.
Filed Under: Monthly Focus