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To the People:
For many in the business community, the end of the year not only marks the season of giving through various religiousand nonprofit charities, but also the time when annual events, fundraisers, holiday celebrations and all forms of gatherings seemingly happen within weeks or even days of one another. As part of our societal, often times fiduciary and moral obligation we host, attend, participate and support many of them each year.
I could not help but notice, starting with the much appreciated support our members gave at our Partnership Annual meeting, the marked increase of participants at events that for the past several years, to put it nicely, were quite thin in attendance.
Speaking with many attendees at the Construction Contractors Association recently, the theme that echoed throughout the room was that there was a great deal of work for the foreseeable future for the members of this Hudson Valley based trades group. Several members spoke about their peers finally amassing some level of disposable income targeted to certain luxuries not affordable to them for quite some time.
Thus, they have ability to give more this year. The varied chambers, visitors associations and foundations have also reported increased sponsorships and attendance. Is the increased giving and participation a positive economic indicator? Some would argue not. Well, personal income is what we call a coincident indicator and where does most local giving come from? Are they at pre 2008 levels?
Generally not, but a significant turnaround is occurring throughout the Hudson Valley and beginning in our own Sullivan County as well. In fact, several lagging indicators point to positive movement in the local economy. Since January of 2013 Sullivan County’s unemployment rate has dropped on average 1 percent for 21 consecutive months with the total labor force finally showing signs of growth as well.
The New York Association of Realtors reports that the 12 month average for real estate sales are up 14.6 % and pending sales up 22%. Surely we have a long way to go, but I believe the signs are already beginning to reveal a positive trend. Our current projects are keeping things moving along and I do expect a very busy 2016 construction season. Now if only that license would arrive.
On behalf of the Board of the Sullivan County Partnership, and the Sullivan United Economic Development team we wish you all a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season and a very prosperous New Year.
President, Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development