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.