Economic Forecast 2013
The Port of Vancouver USA is a conduit for moving freight in and out of the region and throughout the world. Our job is to provide that vital connectivity between where products and resources are created or harvested and the global marketplace.
You’ve likely never heard of ONAMI or C4C, but these two organizations might represent some of the most promising opportunities for economic development that we’ve never considered in Clark County.
Retail sales in Clark County were up slightly over last year with a 6.4 percent average increase in the first two quarters of 2012.
When Mosaic, the first graphic Web browser for the internet, appeared April 22, 1993, there were approximately 1.5 million computer hosts with registered IP addresses. A mere four years later, in 1997, following the success of Netscape and Internet Explorer, the number of hosts had risen to close to 19.5 million worldwide. Less than 20 years later, the number has swollen to over 1 billion.The colonization of the Internet has given rise to businesses that 30 years ago did not exist:nDesigning virtual assets -- like swords -- for computer games or clothing for avatars.
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
In health care delivery, this is an exciting time for PeaceHealth and Clark County.
There have been numerous buzz-word descriptions of the recent housing downturn and the eventual upturn. It’s either V-shaped or U-shaped, or some other image of its slide and recovery during the recent recession.
It is always a pleasure to speak about new business. I have been blessed to do well in the overall outcome of many business endeavors. From InFocus Systems, which I took public in 1990, to my latest company Circle Technology, based here in Clark County, I have been involved in starting more than 10 successful companies.
My 2012 forecast for Clark County was for employment growth of around 1 percent, which turned out to be a bit too pessimistic. As of October 2012, the county had added 2,200 jobs during the prior 12 months, a growth rate of 1.7 percent. I expect that number to be revised upward to 2 percent in the coming months. That would mean by the end of 2012, we would have recovered half of the jobs lost during the Great Recession.
The city of Vancouver recognizes that the recession has hit families and businesses hard. However, the immense economic shift has also brought forth new and different industry opportunities, and a chance to develop new workforce skills in local residents amid a “new economy.”
Commercial development has changed substantially over the last five years. Gone are the days of building primarily on market speculation. Lending standards are more stringent, requiring personal equity and guarantees. Most developments are the product of assimilating smaller projects into a larger development.
“How’s business?” That’s no longer a casual question or an ice breaker at Chamber of Commerce events. Local businesses want to know details. “How are sales?” “How did you find your new hire?” “What are you doing to cut costs and what about health care?”
Register by noon today for economic forecast event
We can’t predict the future, but we can make our best guesses based on knowledge, experience, and a passion for making things happen. In this special section of The Columbian, a dozen distinguished local business leaders and analysts offer their thoughts on where the county and its business sectors are headed in the year ahead. - Gordon Oliver, Business Editor
2013 Economic Forecast Breakfast keynote
Panel 1: Where We Live, Work and Shop
Forecasts on Clark County's housing, real estate, commercial development and retail industries.
Panel 2: Building Basic Industries
A look at trade, health care and key job-producing industries.
Panel 3: New Areas of Promise
Stories of entrepreneurs and growing technical and creative professions.