What’s going on with Siskiyou County’s Economy?

by Shasta Cascade on September 20, 2010

So what’s going on with Siskiyou County’s economy, and where is it headed?

Everyone knows that the county took a terrible blow in 2009, with sales tax receipts down by about 16-22% from 2008.  In 2010, the bloodletting seems to have stopped, and sales tax receipts are showing a slight improvement of a couple percent (see chart below).   Of course, a couple quarters don’t constitute a trend, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

The City of Mt. Shasta is doing better than the county for the first half of 2010:

During the first quarter, the city posted a 3.0% increase in sales tax receipts, compared to the 1.07% increase for the County.

During the second quarter, the city posted  a 6.89% increase in sales tax receipts, compared to a 1.91% increase for Siskiyou County.

Another measure of health is the unemployment rate. According to the graph below, Siskiyou County experiences wide swings during the year, with unemployment usually peaking in March and dropping in late Summer.

The disturbing thing about this graph is that the last unemployment peak in March of 2010 is much higher than the previous peak in March 2009. That suggests that unemployment is getting worse.

With the impending closure of the Coca-Cola water bottling plant that will eliminate nearly 100 jobs at the end of the year, the future does not look good.

Another aspect of an area’s health is the local real estate market. According to the graph below from Zillow.com, the local real estate market bottomed in January of 2010, and has been rising slightly since then. Real estate values are still down 10% from the same time last year, but at least they are no longer dropping.

Mt. Shasta Real Estate Values

So what does this mean for Siskiyou County?

I think the first and last graphs indicate that hopefully the worst is over, and that we’re in for a very slow recovery.

The troubling graph is the unemployment rate because it got worse despite the improvement in the other factors. For workers and employees in Siskiyou County, that is a bad sign.

If unemployment stays high, it will be hard to keep sustained improvements in other areas like home values and retail spending.

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