Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Know your pond: the shape of the local economy

    Businesses and employees who are part of enterprises in the Sun Valley area have a chance next week—the only one they have all year—to get together for a day and discuss local economic conditions and what the future may look like in depth.
    Sun Valley Economic Development will host the 2014 Economic Summit all day on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the Limelight Room at Sun Valley Resort. The summit is not just for nerdy numbers wonks. It’s a must-do for existing or prospective business owners, key employees and investors.
    Participants and expert panelists will look at what’s happened in the local economy and talk about options for the future as we try to grow the feast and reduce the famine of the recreation business and build economic foundations that will last.
    Businesses and employees that swim in our local economic waters need to know the shape of those waters to be successful. It’s hard to see a pond when you’re in the middle of it. This year’s Economic Almanac, part of today’s newspaper in print and online, describes our pond’s characteristics and charts its currents with insightful analysis, charts and graphs. It’s a one-of-a-kind business bible, required reading and a year-long reference for people who are or want to be with a business or nonprofit in the valley.
    Our mountain pond has taken a beating over the last five or six years, but things are looking up, albeit slowly. Between 2011 and 2012, for example, the area added 229 new jobs after four straight years of job losses and the loss of 468 businesses, according to numbers tracked by the Idaho Department of Labor.
    The mixed message in those numbers means that the conference’s theme, “From Adversity to Opportunity: Building a Secure and Resilient Community,” is spot on. And who better to keynote the confab than the mayor of Greensburg, Kan., Bob Dixson, whose town was literally leveled by a huge tornado in 2007. The town’s resurgence is an inspiring story that makes our own towns’ rumbles with a couple of big wildfires seem minor.
    Sun Valley’s inspired future is open for the making—a future informed by the summit and the Economic Almanac.

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