Study: Vail Valley businesses pessimistic about ’09 |

Study: Vail Valley businesses pessimistic about ’09

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Small Vail Valley business are more pessimistic about the economy than larger businesses are, according to a study released Tuesday by the Eagle County Economic Council.

Some 77 percent of small businesses said the economy is “getting worse” this year. Half of those surveyed expected their own business to decline.

Among the larger businesses, slightly more than half also said Eagle County’s economy is getting worse, But a quarter of the large businesses surveyed said they expected to see some improvement in the economy in 2009.

But larger employers told the economic council that it will be easier to hire and retain employees this year.

The report also found that few businesses will increase their payrolls in 2009. Small businesses expected to increase employees by about 13 percent and larger businesses, 1.2 percent. Because the businesses answer the surveys in November, the Economic Council believes those numbers have likely dropped.

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In 2008, Eagle County’s unemployment rate was about 3.7 percent, but spiked in November at 5 percent. The 2008 rate, however, was lower than in 2005, when the rate was 3.9 percent.

In accompanying study, the Economic Council also found that that while the unemployment rate spikes every year at the end of ski season the increase was higher in 2008 and did not fall as low as it usual does at the beginning of ski season.

Among the study’s conclusions:

– Slowing of the growth in the numbers of employers and persons in the labor force will continue in the first quarter of 2009.

– County’s unemployment rate, which has dropped over the last several years, started to rise last year and will continue to increase this year.

– Employee housing continues to be a problem and few businesses offer assistance.

– Business owners and managers are pessimistic and uncertain about the future.

“Because of the downturn in the economy, local employers have had an easier time filling jobs,” said Kathy Chandler-Henry, the council’s research director. “On the other hand, the chronic problem of having adequate workforce housing still is a top concern among employers.”

Fifty businesses, with a total of 16,278 employees, and other organizations participated in the survey.

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