Grand Junction Mayor Gregg Palmer appeared on CNBC this morning in a feature section of Squawk on the Street called “Beating the Odds”. In this segment CNBC hosts interviewed the mayors of five different US cities that are doing better than most during the recession.
During the segment Mayor Palmer says, "we're currently not immune to the recession but we try to be able to position ourselves so we feel the down turn less and we recover more quickly." The hosts touted the area's energy industry, tourism and agriculture, and while the energy industry was partly responsible for good employment numbers and housing values in 2008. The president of the Grand Junction area Chamber of Commerce Diane Schwenke says that the energy industry is showing a 40 to 50 percent decline in activity for 2009; rippling down to other industries.
Schwenke sites a study done by the energy industry, "every energy job does generate two to three additional jobs in the community."
She says we haven't seen the worst of the recession yet but mayor Palmer says industry diversity is the key to economic success, "we've seen a lot of energy booms and busts over the years, so we've learned not to put our eggs in one basket."
Mayor Palmer didn't mention the two biggest, and according to Schwenke recession proof industries in our area, education and health care; "those two sectors you don't see in terms of a lot of down turn I think those are going to do pretty well."
Steve Crawford with Career Centers of America helps people find jobs and employers find qualified workers he says business has been slow, "we feel a little bit of it and I talk to employers and they're not telling me no, they're telling me to call back in April and May."
Crawford says he's very excited to see Grand Junction in the national spotlight, and even though things may get worse before they get better All agree that putting grand junction in front of the rest of the nation is a good thing, Crawford says "we got probably three million dollars worth of free advertising."