This is a good news flash: year-to-date taxable sales through August in the county is $56.8 million, which puts us on track to have the best year since 2008.

Lodging revenue reflect a similar trend: the August revenue of $2.8 Million is more than double that of August 2011, and is the second highest recorded month in Valley County’s history (the highest was $3 Million in September of 2007). More details and charts:

It sure looks like our local economy has turned the corner. I do want to caution all of us that, even though the numbers are improving vastly, our local economy has not escaped the underlying issues that plagued it for some decades: strong seasonality (at least 5% higher unemployment in the winter) and low average wages (ranking 29th in Idaho). The improved overall economy is very important and some of our local businesses are specifically targeting mid-week, off-season visitation for this winter – which will certainly help. But tweaking the fundamentals of our economy will take creative thinking and concerted effort.