Road closed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The closing of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has cost the regional economy more than $23 million in lost visitor spending through the first 10 days of the government shutdown, according to a report released today by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.
In addition, more than 257,000 tourists have been unable to visit the park since it has been closed and 11,766 jobs, including 11,367 local/non-park service jobs, are at risk, CNPSR says.
Nationwide, $750 million in visitor spending has been lost at the 12 national parks studied by the coalition.
“These figures are mind boggling and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America – our national parks,” CNPSR Chair Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of Everglades and Olympic National Parks, said in a statement.” Towns, cities, and even whole states that depend on park tourism are feeling an increasingly strong pinch. And if Congress continues to hold our national parks hostage, these communities will soon be reeling from what is in many cases the main driver of their economies.”
The coalition describes itself as a non-partisan, non-profit organization comprised of former employees of the National Park Service.
Click here for the coalition’s news release.
University of Tennessee economists predict modest improvement in the Tennessee and national economies in 2014, according to fall 2013 Tennessee Business and Economic Outlook released Thursday.
“While growth is subdued due to reduced federal government spending and a global slowdown, the expansion has shown a much-welcomed resilience,” said Matt Murray, associate director of UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research and the report’s author.
“The outlook for 2014 is encouraging, but the economy continues to confront a number of domestic and international challenges,” Murray added.
Residential and non residential fixed investments and exports will drive growth next year, while reduced federal and state government spending “will be the primary drags on growth,” Murray said.
Unemployment will continue to fall in 2014, but a decline in labor force participation continues to be a problem, the report says.
The state’s unemployment rate, however, will average 8.2 percent for 2013, compared to 7.6 percent for the nation. Tennessee’s unemployment rate was 8 percent last year and is expected to drop to 7.6 percent in 2014 and 7 percent in 2015, according to a news release.
Other highlights from the report:
Personal income in Tennessee is expected to grow 2.6 percent this year, slightly lower than the nation’s 2.7 percent rate of growth, and improve to 4.4 percent in 2014.
Professional and business services, leisure and hospitality services, and manufacturing sectors will see marginally slower growth next year compared to this year.
Eating and drinking establishments and food stores will experience strong growth this year.
Taxable sales growth for 2013 is expected to be 3.2 percent, well behind the 4.7 percent growth rate of 2012. It will see modest improvement in 2014 to a projected 3.5 percent.
Automobile dealer sales were especially hot in 2012, up 10.1 percent, as consumers continued to satisfy their demands for vehicle upgrades. A cooling of sales will take place this year, with a rebound to 4.4 percent growth in 2014.
Click here for the full CBER report.
Tennessee’s economy will continue modest growth this year, but should be “substantially stronger”in 2014, University of Tennessee economists said today.
On the national scene, the economy is expected to grow slowly in the coming months with a steady decline in the unemployment rate, according to the annual economic forecast prepared for the governor by UT’s Center for Business and Economic Research.
“The U.S. economy is projected to continue to grow in the quarters ahead and the unemployment rate will continue its slow but steady decline,” said Matt Murray, associate director of CBER and the report’s author. “For Tennessee, the economic outlook calls for modest growth in 2013 followed by substantially stronger growth in 2014.”
State and national fiscal policies will be the topic when Mark Emkes, Tennessee’s chief operating officer, speaks at the Knoxville Economics Forum meeting next week
Emkes, state commissioner of finance and administration, is expected to talk about the state fiscal situation and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The forum meets Feb. 7 at 7:30 a.m. at Club LeConte on the top floor of the First Tennessee Building, 800 S. Gay St..
Emkes oversees all of state government’s budgeting and finance operations. He previously spent 33 years with the Bridgestone Firestone Corp., retiring as chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc.
Tennessee’s economy is moving forward, but progress remains painfully slow, according to a University of Tennessee report released today.
After “exceptionally strong rates of economic expansion” in the first quarter, the state economy slowed sharply in the second quarter as effects of the debt crisis in Europe rippled across the globe, says the fall 2012 Business and Economic Outlook.
However, UT economists see the state and national economies posting modest gains through the first half of 2013.
Significant economic improvement is still a year or two away, according to the study prepared by the university’s Center for Business and Economic Research.
Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, says Romney economic advisers Kevin Hassett and Glenn Hubbard got it all wrong in a Washington Post opinion piece published Wednesday.
Lowering marginal tax rates, as Hassett and Hubbard suggest, would do nothing to boost the economy, Baker writes in a commentary on econobytes.
“In short, it is difficult to see how the tax policy being promoted by Governor Romney will have much of a positive impact on investment and growth, especially if it is accompanied by further cutbacks in government spending. While the Obama administration’s stimulus policy was clearly inadequate to make up for the shortfall in demand created by the collapse of the housing bubble, Governor Romney’s plan is not likely to do any better,” Baker says.
No surprise that the founder of a progressive think tank would differ from the Romney camp. Nonetheless, Baker offers an interesting counterpoint to the Hassett-Hubbard suggestion that lower marginal tax rates are need to boost business investment.
Despite what we hear from the far right, the U.S. economy is not circling the drain.
Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher made that clear in an interview with CNBC today. Fisher said that CEOs around the country tell him that they feel better about the economy.
” …The tone is a lot better. It’s not brilliant; we don’t have enough new hiring taking place, (but we’re) definitely moving in the right direction. … Things are better than the numbers might suggest or at least moving in the right direction,” Fisher said.
Fisher noted that exports and manufacturing are picking up and that the American private sector is “the most efficient in the world. They have cut costs to the bone. They are hyperproductive. They are still sitting on a pile of cash. I’m not sure all that cash has been put to work. We know there is a lot of cash on the sidelines.”
After listening to the drumbeat of doom that is the Republican presidential primary, it’s refreshing to hear a voice of reason.
Revenue and volume have returned to pre-recession levels, driven by an improving economy, consumer confidence and product innovation, the council said in its annual industry review for Wall Street analysts.
“These results show that the hospitality industry is helping drive the national recovery and job creation, but it remains critical that legislators don’t derail future economic growth through higher taxes,” said Cressy.