Nov 24, 2009 5:26 AM by Jeannette Hynes

El Paso county's economy looking up

El Paso County's economy is moving in the right direction, according to a quarterly study put together by the Southern Colorado Economic Forum.

The study looks at 10 different factors to see how the economy is moving, everything from retail sales to employment to the housing industry. Seven of the 10 areas are moving up and have been for the past six months.

"The economy is looking very good, but it's also very slow," says Economist Fred Crowley with the Southern Colorado Economic Forum and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
He says federal stimulus programs like "Cash for Clunkers" and the home buyer tax credits have helped.

"What we hope is that these things have sustaining capability. Time will tell," says Crowley.

When it comes to housing, permits to build single-family homes has increased. Home sales have improved, and the average price of a home has increased over the past several months.

Sales tax revenues for the city of Colorado Springs continue to decline, but not as sharply as anticipated. The study says the trend will continue downward as more people have less money to spend than they did before, and as more people shop online or out of the city.

Other areas that are not improving as quickly are employment and incomes. The Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation is developing an economic strategic plan to help the Pikes Peak region bring in the next generation of businesses to generate jobs and boost wages.

"All these things are pointing to a much better 2010 than we had in 2009," says Crowley. 

To read the entire report, including a survey about local holiday shopping, click here: Economic Outlook 2009.pdf




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