“The good news is that the economy is not deteriorating further,” said Fred Crowley, senior economist at the College of Business and Administration at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and economist for the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, which publishes a quarterly report about local economic conditions. “Home sales are up, listings have decreased — that means stable home prices. Permits have bottomed out and are up slightly. Consumer confidence is better.”
The latest quarterly report shows the business conditions index has halted its downward trend and improved slightly from February to March. Business conditions have remained steady since November, the report said.
“The most important measure of the area’s economic health might be employment,” the report said. “Since employment tends to lag the business cycle, the forum expects several months of slow economic activity are ahead for the local economy.”
“We got by very nicely this time,” Crowley said. “We didn’t have the tech firms to wear us down, but the down side is that we don’t have them to give high paychecks. The nature of our economy has changed, and we haven’t fared as badly as during the 2001 downturn.”
The current numbers are promising, but Crowley said he expects a “shot in the arm” from arriving troops in the summer.
“Those people and their families are going to buy gas, buy food, buy new televisions,” he said. “That’s going to make a difference this summer.”
Other news from the quarterly report: