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Local economist sees small increases over next year

Local economist sees small increases over next year

Photo: clipart.com

KGMI News Reporting
By Tracy Ellis

BELLINGHAM, Wash. – No one knows exactly what will happen with Whatcom County’s economy for the next 12 month, but local economist Hart Hodges has a pretty good idea.

He spoke at a Bellingham/Whatcom County Chamber of Commerce’s speaker series event yesterday.

“Locally, we are not back in the labor market to where we were at the peak before the 2008-09 recession.”

He sees a 1.5 percent increase in employment.

“Information, professional technical services, management of enterprises – those sectors are some of the fastest growing sectors in a number of the major metro areas across the county.  They are the highest wage growth sectors. ” 

Whatcom County doesn’t have many of those jobs.

That’s part of the reason why he expects wages to rise just a little bit above inflation.

He thinks retail will be up a modest 2 percent, with no significant change in the exchange rate or border crossings

Hodges says housing prices are already well above the national average and he doesn’t believe they’ll go much higher.

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