One of the many services provided each year by the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce is a look into the future of our national and local economies. Thanks to the expertise and generous time of a community group of leaders from banking, market investment, university research, real estate, government and more, our Reach Advisory Council (RAC) shares its expertise so we may, in turn, share it with our business members.
The RAC concluded that on a national level, 2019 was another strong year continuing the longest economic expansion we have had in history. But as we move into 2020, there is debate about the Federal Reserve’s latest rate structure and how it foresees the future of monetary policy in the U.S. However, the Fed did recently lower its forecast for our national unemployment rate from 3.7% to 3.5%. This is good news that more Americans are working, but challenges many of our employers on how to find more qualified workers to drive their businesses. Inflation is expected to remain below 2%, but growth is not expected to surpass 2% over the next 3 years. Trade policy changes should be our friend helping agriculture and manufacturing growth.
On a local level, though our unemployment is closer to 4.5%, that number is a sharp decrease from 5 years ago when our MSA was at 5.87%. Slow and steady growth is predicted for our region with an expected 2,200 new jobs added in 2020.
According to the Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey, 26% of employers plans to hire more employees in the first quarter of 2020 and a solid majority of employers, 67%, will maintain current staffing levels.
Our region is still in the midst of the recovery from the tornadoes that ravaged parts of the Miami Valley on Memorial Day evening. The Montgomery County auditor reported receiving 1,268 damaged or destroyed property-value-reduction applications, which translated into $46.3 million in damage. That damage translates into about $1.7 million of property tax revenue that may take years from which to recover. Much of those annual losses will be borne by Trotwood-Madison and Dayton Public Schools. Other districts will also be negatively affected.
For 2020, we believe the tornado recovery and search for qualified workers will be our two greatest challenges. We do expect growth at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, manufacturing, transportation/warehousing and logistics and the construction trades. Housing, an important economic indicator, remains strong. Downtown Dayton continues to see a rebirth as well as growth in areas like Washington Township. Commercial projects remain high with almost 20 significant projects in the region including the Arcade, hospitals, onMain and west Dayton driving the construction economy.
Politics being what it is, typically we have seen an uptick in the economy during that season or right after. The Miami Valley region should be able to share in some of the positive economic growth trends for 2020.
Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President and CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce