Economic Indicators: November 2020

November 23, 2020

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Clint Eastwood starred in the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and there’s a little bit of each in November’s Economic Indicators.  First, the good—continued stabilization in Rapid City’s unemployment rate, down to 4.2% from 5.2% the previous month.  While this is not quite at the pre-Covid number of 3.6%, it’s within shooting distance.  In addition, wages, gross sales, building permits, and (congrats to our friends at Visit Rapid City) hotel occupancy are up from where they were last year at this time.  The bad—air passenger traffic continues to lag and commercial vacancy rates are up just over 11% from last year.  However, this is a national trend and not specific to Rapid City or the region.  The ugly—Covid-19 cases continue to peak in the Black Hills, which could short-circuit the region’s return to economic normalcy in the first quarter of 2021.    

Neither good, bad, nor ugly—what to make of housing.  On one hand, the market continues to show strength and people are moving to the area at a quick pace.  On the other hand, supply continues to decrease and put pressure on home prices, which continue to adversely affect the ability of parts of the workforce to afford a home.