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Classifieds suggest economic bottom reached

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JACKSON, Wyo. - Economic analyst Jonathan Schechter seems to have correctly predicted last autumn the bottoming-out of the real estate market in Jackson and Teton County - a bottoming that seems to have been occurring in other resort markets as well.

More recently, he took on the challenge of the economy there more broadly. Given the challenge of predicting economic highs and lows, he says he might have more wisely quit while ahead.

But he plunged ahead, studying the classified advertisements of the Jackson Hole News & Guide, in which his analysis appears, going back to January 2005. Specifically, he measured two barometers: the column inches of help-wanted and rental housing listings.

The help-wanted ads suggest the economy crested in the winter of 2007-08, then began slowing in spring of 2008, around the time that investment bank Bear Stearns imploded. After that, he reports, things went into an 18-month free fall, finally stabilizing late last year.

Rental-housing ads hit an all-time low in summer of 2008, lagging a bit behind the peak in help-wanted advertising. Mirroring the help-wanted ads, rental housing ads peaked this past fall and since then have leveled out.

Using these and other statistical tools, he concludes that "starting in October or so, the tide seems to have turned, and at a minimum, the rate of decline has flattened out."

Schechter adds: "Whether growth will occur anytime soon is anyone's guess, but judging by newspaper advertising, it does seem that... the local economy has hit bottom."

 

New avalanche rating scale coming

REVELSTOKE, B.C. -A new North American avalanche danger rating system has been announced and will be put into use next winter.

The new rating system has five levels of warning, replacing the existing three levels. Also, avalanche forecasters say that they believe the new system will more easily convey inherently complex information in a simpler, more unified format.

"The new system really spells it out in a very digestible manner using colours and numbers and icons," said Cam Campbell, forecaster for the Canadian Avalanche Centre.

"It really reaches out to a wide variety of learning types and catches the attention of a wide variety of people," he said. The Revelstoke Times Review also notes that the new system overcomes some ambiguities present in the existing system.

 

Health pushed as an economic driver

VAIL, Colo.- As part of its perpetual conversation about economic diversification, Vail is now talking about more aggressively encouraging outdoor sports, wellness and fitness as an economic driver. In particular, the target seems to be women.

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