So has Valley County’s economy turned the corner? Most available economic indicators lag months, if not years behind, and we only have crude indicators like Unemployment and Sales and Use Tax available that provide us with timely data.
Sales and Use Tax
The figure below shows the historic trends of Sales and Use Tax in Valley County – a good indicator for the hospitality economy. The 2011 data closely track the 2010 Taxable Sales, suggesting that we have bottomed out. So far, however, we do not show a true rebound – who knows that the summer months will start that upward trend…
The same story is pictured by our unemployment data. Unlike the data released earlier by the Idaho department of Labor, the numbers in figure 2 are the “raw” numbers uncorrected for seasonality. For us, in Valley County, that tells a more precise story where we can see that the gap between the previous and current year has steadily closed, suggesting that we may have peaked.
On the down-side, more than a thousand jobs in Valley County are directly or indirectly tied to government services of one type or another (Forest Service, Education, etc); a segment for which we can only expect less employment prospects in the coming years.