Economic indicators show WNC’s pump is primed but still waiting to flow

coverMore doom and gloom or a light at the end of the tunnel?

For five years, the nation has waited eagerly for economic forecasters to tell us what we want to hear — that home sales are rebounding, wages are finally rising, and job growth at long last is outpacing layoffs. Will 2013 bring those things at last?

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Haywood County economy outpaces its peers
College kids gum up Jackson County’s economic stats

The military bubble will be the next to burst

op frKen Jacobine • Guest Columnist

As students of the Austrian School of Economics understand, financial bubbles are caused by central bank monetary policy and government intervention in the economy.  The housing boom and subsequent crash in the first decade of this century is an excellent example of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory (the Austrian School’s explanation for booms and busts in the economy).  

Manufacturing leads Haywood out of recession

For the second year in a row, area research economist Tom Tveidt delivered his state of Haywood County’s economy address — a rare look at the county’s individual resources and statistics.

Typically, economic data is collected for the region as a whole or into a metropolitan statistical area, meaning Haywood County is grouped with surrounding counties. That skews the final numbers or conclusions about its economy.

Room tax on the rise, a sign of hope in the tourism industry

Many counties are seeing an increase in tourism-related spending this year, but most have still not bounced back to their pre-recession numbers.

The only real way for counties to measure how many tourists are stopping in their towns is through its occupancy tax revenues — that is the amount of tax revenue it receives from visitors who stay overnight in a hotel. Though even that can be slightly misleading, since people may take a daytrip somewhere and then return home at night.

Low values prompt reval delay

Real estate prices have taken such a drastic plunge in Macon and Jackson counties — which once boasted the highest concentration of mega-developments catering to the high-end second home market — that county commissioners there keep postponing the countywide property revaluation.

Going once, going twice … Local banks still feeling hangover from unprecedented boom and bust

fr bankswildflowerAs Macon Bank scurried to get in on the ground floor of the real estate heyday in the mountains, it unwittingly stumbled into a house of cards, and found itself caught up in a scheme akin to insider trading that artificially inflated high-end lot prices and duped the bank into making risky loans.

Debt burden will crush main street if unsolved

op minickIn his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Today the challenge posed by Kennedy might read: “Ask not what you can do for your country — ask what your country is doing to you.”

Some banks still struggling to pick up the pieces

coverThe view from Roger Plemens office is hard to beat.

Bay windows serve up a bird’s eye view of the Nantahala mountain range, a vantage point that must have been a factor when Macon Bank chose this hilltop for its prestigious corporate headquarters that tower above Franklin.

Macon Bank under watchful eye of FDIC as it tries to rebound from real estate bust

Fallout from the real estate bubble in Western North Carolina has landed Macon Bank on the watch list of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a federal banking oversight arm.

Macon Bank has been operating under the scrutiny of the FDIC since March. The oversight agency has laid out a series of benchmarks the bank must meet, from strict performance targets to heightened involvement by the bank’s board of directors.

Tired of being the odd woman out, Haywood tourism member resigns

A Haywood County Tourism Development Authority board member has resigned from her seat after disagreeing with the rest of the board’s decision to close a couple of its visitors centers.

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