Each year, Chapman Universitys A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research releases its economic forecast for the coming year. The Chapman Econometric Model that makes the forecasts possible started in 1978 as a faculty-student research project and today attracts attention across the nation for its accurate predictions of economic trends.
The 35th annual forecast for 2013 released on November 28th shows an overall slow continuation of the recovery throughout the nation and Orange County. Employment is expected to increase by 1.8 percent in Orange County in 2013, which amounts to 26,000 payroll jobs. Sectors that have enjoyed steady job growth and will continue to do so are healthcare, professional and business services and leisure and hospitality. As a result of job growth, personal income is also expected to grow by 5.4 percent in Orange County in the coming year.
In real estate, notices of defaults declined sharply this past year and should continue to decline. And construction spending is rebounding and expected to grow in 2013. The forecast predicts housing starts increasing by 13.4 percent nationally and construction spending is expected to increase by 10 percent in Orange County.
On the downside, it is uncertain how expected federal tax hikes and budget cuts and uncertainty surrounding difficulties in other countries will affect the U.S. economy.
In light of the overall rosier forecast results, things are looking up in Old Towne, says Orange Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Heidi Larkin-Reed. It is easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom, but the reality is we are growing and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future, she says. Orange offers an outstanding variety of goods and services that will continue to attract customers. Businesses should plan for growth and look to partnering with organizations such as the Orange Chamber of Commerce to assist with this growth.
Orange Mayor Teresa Tita Smith and a lifetime Old Towne resident credits the loyalty of Orange residents for the communitys longevity. Since 1888, Orange has been both prosperous and resilient, and that is not by accident, she says. Residents have remained loyal to our hometown businesses, both large and small, which keeps much needed sales tax dollars here in Orange. We all can contribute to Oranges economic strength by simply shopping in Orange, including buying our cars, gasoline and appliances here. It is the sales tax dollars that will bring us all the way back.
In keeping with the forecasts overall predictions regarding improvement in the housing market, Orange Realty owner and broker Dan Slater is very bullish about Oranges real estate market for 2013. It may start out slowly in January and February, but by March I think we can expect a very hot market, he says. This will probably be contributable to the better numbers for employment and overall improvement in the economy. The City Councils recent move to lower the density in Old Towne is also going to have very positive results, because it will make the neighborhood even more desirable and encourage preservation. In Old Towne, inventory is at historic lows-there are currently only nine properties for sale. This is due to the fact that Old Towne is such a desirable place to live that people are more inclined to move in than out.
Current predictions along with new information will be addressed at Chapmans Economic Forecast Update, to be held June 12, 2013, and covered in the Plaza Review.
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Published in the Jan/Feb 2013 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Julie Bawden-Davis, Photograph by Mike Escobedo
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