Spokane’s economy showing signs of recovery, Moody’s finds
Spokane’s economy is recovering, while Coeur d’Alene’s remains in recession, according to a new analysis of June data released Monday by Moody’s Economy.com.
But the Kootenai County city’s rankings for cost of doing business and cost of living are slightly better than those for Spokane, as is the projected employment growth through 2011, the economic research firm concluded.
Offsetting Coeur d’Alene’s positives are retreating home prices, which significantly exceeded national levels three years ago, says Moody’s, which looked at 392 urban markets.
Spokane was ranked 149th for job growth, compared with 41st for Coeur d’Alene. Cost of business in Spokane was 81 percent of the national average, Coeur d’Alene’s was 76 percent.
In cost of living, Spokane was 97 percent of the national average, Coeur d’Alene was 96 percent.
The other factors incorporated into its projections, Moody’s says, are residential construction and manufacturing production. The data do not include construction or production numbers.
Eastern Washington University Professor Grant Forsyth said he does not discern the distinction made by Moody’s between Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, or between “recovery” and “in recession.”
“The region’s economy has sort of flatlined,” he said.
The one positive among the indicators he tracks, Forsyth said, is a slowing pace for unemployment claims.
Housing prices may be stabilizing after months of slippage, he added.
“It’s really hard to reach the same conclusion they (Moody’s) does that Spokane is in recovery and Kootenai County is not,” Forsyth said. “I don’t get it.”
Forsyth said he does not foresee much job growth until 2011, but hiring will probably fall short of the 2 percent growth the region has experienced since the early 1990s.
Despite problems in the Coeur d’Alene and Boise economies, Idaho as a whole is recovering from the recession, Moody’s says.
In Washington, recovering economies in Seattle, Olympia and Yakima, plus Spokane, and an economic expansion in Kennewick, are making up for declines in Bellingham, Bremerton, Longview, Mount Vernon, Tacoma and Wenatchee.