The good with the badHaywood sees economic growth in manufacturing, tourism industries, while others still suffer
With an economy slowly recovering from recession, focus is firmly on jobs and the businesses that bring jobs into the community. So it’s not surprising that Tom Tveidt, president of SYNEVA Economics, spotlighted those subjects during the 2012 Economic Forum for Haywood County hosted by Old Town Bank on Thursday.
To understand the current economics at play in Haywood County, Tveidt said it’s important to know what’s going on locally, including the industries that are strongest and where there is the most growth.
“Every community has their own little pattern, and their own way,” he said.
Rising from recession
Looking at the start of the recession around 2007-2008, in terms of job losses Haywood County hit “rock bottom” in 2010 with a total job loss of about 1,300, Tveidt said. Since then, the number of jobs has been increasing with 218 jobs added in the last year.
“We are hiring right now, and we have been hiring for two years,” he said, adding jobs are up by 1.3 percent. “This is significant (for Haywood County). It’s not just a drop in the bucket. We’re back in the game. We’re growing. We’re not dramatically growing, but we’ve never dramatically grown.”
To illustrate his point, Tveidt pointed out that in the past 40 years, Haywood County has typically seen job growth increase by a little more than 100 positions every year, not including seasonal work.
Looking at the strongest areas for job growth in the county, retail and trade, manufacturing, restaurants and lodging and administrative work all scored the highest.
Retail and trade includes auto dealers and parts, clothing and used merchandise with an increase of 50 jobs in the past year.
With numbers that might surprise many, manufacturing came in with the highest rates for job creation with 387 jobs.
Although the news reports that more and more manufacturing jobs are headed overseas, Tveidt said the tide seems to be changing.
“It’s been returning (to the U.S.) now for the last few years,” he said.
With a strong tourism-based economy in Haywood County, restaurants and lodging are doing well on the job front, adding 99 new jobs in the last year, and in the administrative category, which includes temp agencies, jobs are up by 130.
Some industries hurting, others strong
However, with an up side comes a down side to the economy.
Tveidt pointed out that other areas are losing jobs, including construction with 147 jobs lost, health care with nine jobs lost, local schools with 38 jobs lost and professional and technical services with 138 jobs lost.
But when looking toward the future prospects in the county, it’s most important to focus on what the area is “good at.”
Tveidt highlighted five different industry sectors that are strong in Haywood County. These industries are nursing and residential care, construction, retail trade, lodging and restaurants and manufacturing.
The strength of the nursing and residential care industry is because of the aging population in Haywood County. Tveidt said an older demographic is attracted to the area, often to retire, and the rise in the nursing and residential care industry reflects that growth.
“This specialization is 100 percent higher here than elsewhere,” based on the national average, he explained.
While construction is still seeing job losses, the industry is still about 20 percent above the national average.
The retail and lodging and restaurant trades’ strength is in the strong tourism economy in Haywood County, which overall, haven’t seen much fluctuation.
“We’re a tourism community, and we really haven’t lost a whole lot,” he said.
And manufacturing is becoming more and more specialized in the area, which in turn, attracts more manufacturing business.
“New companies look for communities where there is already manufacturing,” Tveidt said.
Tveidt also took a look at the breakout industries in the area over a two-year period, which means the industries the community is seeing more of than ever before.
“What this means is there’s a really good chance that there will be more of it in the future,” Tveidt said, which might indicate areas of opportunity.
The breakout industries he pointed out were restaurants, services to buildings and dwellings, home health care, auto repair and maintenance and the management of companies. Other industries that are breaking out to a lesser extent include non-depository credit intermediation, lawn and garden supplies, used merchandise and security and commodity investment activities.
When talking about job creation in a tough economy, wages are another big concern. More jobs might be good, but higher paying jobs are even better.
Tveidt said the area that’s taken the biggest dive in wages is the professional and technical services industry because most of the jobs that were lost were in the higher paying positions.
Manufacturing is seeing the highest wages increase of about $133 per year, but “unfortunately, the growth in wages has not been very good,” Tveidt said.
Another factor with wages is that the bigger the employer, the better the wages. National companies like Belk are typically paying higher wages than small, local businesses.
“Even in a small town like this, people work for big companies,” Tveidt said. “Small business lives on, but big business still dominates.”
A business’ age also plays a role in the success of the business and the level of wages. For businesses 11 years or older, the recession didn’t have nearly the impact it did on younger businesses, and wages are better.
“They own the place,” Tveidt said.
Employment by education level hasn’t changed very much in Haywood County in recent years. The highest level of employment is among the high school graduates, while community college graduates employment has risen slightly to come close to meeting the high school level. College graduates employment levels and those with less than a high school education have stayed about the same, but statistics show that higher education levels mean higher wages.
As for the housing market, things are showing a small improvement in the county.
Foreclosures are starting to decrease while existing home sales are increasing by about 14 percent. However, average price for the homes that are selling is still down, and there is almost no movement in the $1 million and higher market.
“It’s going to take a while (to recover),” Tveidt said. “We’ll probably never really get back to where we were.”
Tveidt ended his talk by saying that opportunities are available in Haywood County, especially in the areas he’s pointed out earlier as growth industries and specializations. Judging by the data for 2012, he said he believes next year will improve upon the trends Haywood County is already seeing.