Saturday, August 29, 2015 05:01am
North Adams, MA now: 46 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
LOG IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
Is anyone else feeling this way?
By: Allen Jezouit, @BerkshireCountyBusiness On: 12:14PM / Wednesday September 01, 2010

There was an article in the Times-Union yesterday entitled, "Economy looking up in the Berkshires" (Eric Anderson, Business Editor). Mr. Anderson cites "blockbuster events, warm, dry weather, and a recovering economy" as being the reasons for the boost in tourist activity here this summer which has helped the local economy. He specifically cited the Wilco event at Mass MoCA, Tanglewood's strong summer season, and a "40% rise in ticket sales" at the Williamstown Theatre Festival as being some of the reasons behind the stronger than expected season.

Yet, for those of us who live here full-time who aren't involved in the tourist industry or cultural venues, the economy in the Berkshires isn't all roses.

  • I recently spoke to a realtor who told me that over 105 homes were on the market just in Williamstown. That was MLS listings alone and didn't include FSBO and Assist2Sell homes. A more typical number of homes on the market for Williamstown would be in the 40-60 units range.

  • A recent article in the Berkshire Eagle ("Vacancies, dearth of visitors plague mall", Tony Dobrowolski, 8/29/2010) spoke to the struggles of the Berkshire Mall in Lanesboro. Mr. Dobrowolski cited 17 dark storefronts out of 74 in the mall, which is a 23% vacancy rate.

  • The hospitals in North Adams and Pittsfield are both in deep fiscal distress.

My feeling is that it is incumbent upon those of us who live and work here to take a deep look at how we got to where we are in terms of our local economy. There is all kinds of data available that speaks to the fragility of economies who rely solely on consumptive industries like tourism, retail, and culture. We need our elected leadership and appointed personnel to work with local businesses and institutions on formulating a strategy that will bring real jobs here over the next 10 years.

Sustainability isn't just about the environment. Continuing down the same path we are on is not the answer.



Write a comment - 2 Comments       Tags: Berkshire County, economy      
What will the Berkshires look like in 20 or 25 years?
By: Allen Jezouit, @BerkshireCountyBusiness On: 08:00AM / Tuesday August 10, 2010

I read with some interest an article on iBerkshires entitled Economic Expert Says Pittsfield Economy Weakened (Nicole Dupont, 8/2/2010). The picture presented by Charles Murray of the American Institute for Economic Research is not a pretty one.

“We look at wages and employment,” he said. “And we’ve concluded that the strongest areas have multiple primary industries such as farming, transportation and manufacturing. The weakest have smaller populations, an overdependence on a primary industry, or are overly reliant on consumptive industries such as tourism, construction, large local governments, services and retail trade.”

Later in the article, Ms. Dupont quoted an interesting comparison Mr. Murray made between the economies of Pittsfield and Fargo, ND. Evidently both cities were ranked similarly in 2004 with Pittsfield at #100 of the 366 metro areas studied and Fargo at #95. Since then, Pittsfield's economy has fallen to #245 while Fargo's has improved to #25. Mr. Murray attributed this substantial shift to Fargo focusing on primary industries (manufacturing, agriculture, and finance) while Pittsfield focused on consumptive industries (tourism, retail, and culture). Further, Mr. Murray suggested that our aging population locally is also a substantial drain on our economy. While not providing a comparison with Fargo on this factor, Mr. Murray pointed out that Pittsfield's aging population cashed over $400 million in Social Security checks in 2009.

So, where will Pittsfield and the rest of the Berkshires be in 2030 or 2035? Based on our recent past, the trend lines are not encouraging. Yet, on the one hand, Massachusetts was ranked a stunning #5 of the 50 states in "best places to do business" study by CNBC recently. And, on the other hand, for the "cost of doing business" portion of CNBC's evaluation, MA ranked #45 out of 50. Cost, of course, is a huge driving factor in any corporate investment decision. MA just isn't competitive for new investment by primary industries and we have no raw materials to exploit on the scale and scope required for massive investment. If we are going to reverse the trends, we need to address the fundamental cost of doing business issues that we have allowed to flourish here over time. (It was really easy to write that last sentence, but boy is it a mouthful!)

The 6th grade class at Williamstown Elementary School will have 45 kids in it this year, which is down from about 90 just 4 or 5 years ago. Half! Are other communities in Berkshire County seeing the same thing? Are we really on the right track here? We seem to know how to bring people to Berkshire County for a weekend in October, but we can't seem to figure out how to bring them here for a lifetime.



Write a comment - 0 Comments       Tags: Berkshire County      
Page 1 of 1 1  
News Headlines
Adams & Cheshire School Bus Route 2015
Williams College Class of 2019 Set to Arrive Aug. 31
YMCA Accepting Registration for Elementary School-Age Programs
'Mile in Her Shoes Art Show' Seeks Participating Artists
Berkshire Bank Names MacDonald SVP Corporate Auto Sales Leader
Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Aug. 28-Sept. 3
Berkshire Opera Festival Appoints First Director of Development
Adams-Cheshire Makes High School Pitch to Lanesborough
Opened or Closed? Debate Over Kirvin Park's Gate Grows
North Adams Neighborhood Opposed to Bike Path Plan


Categories:
Economy (11)
Finance (4)
Marketing (17)
Sales (4)
Archives:
Tags:
Education Chamber Of Commerce Williamstown Massachusetts Public Safety Cnbc Civil Liberties Unemployment Berkshire County Survey Social Media Berkshire Direct Books Marketing Facebook Nobel Prize Advertising Seminar Deficit Seo Custom Business Solutions Economy Cash Flow Analysis Financials Measure Election Sales Small Business Marketing Security Search Engine Optimization Ecommerce Bigcommerce Entrepreneur Web Security Budget
Popular Entries:
JC Penney and "black hat" SEO
Easier and easier
Why does "Tea Party" have to equal "Right Wing" or "extremist"?
Holy cow!
Nobel Prize in Economics Awarded for Theory on Why Unemployment Remains So High
Chamber Seminar: Email Marketing
What will the Berkshires look like in 20 or 25 years?
Is anyone else feeling this way?
Leadership
That didn't take long
Recent Entries:
Chamber Seminar: Email Marketing
That didn't take long
Holy cow!
JC Penney and "black hat" SEO
Easier and easier
Chamber Seminar on eCommerce
Gotta love 2011 so far!
Mass., NY could lose more seats in Congress
The 12 Days of Holiday Revenue Maximization for Your Online Store
5 New Online Services Perfect for Small Businesses


Live on the Lake: Madison...
Madison Avenue wrapped up the 2015 Live on the Lake concert...
Whitman's Wins Torchia League...
The Pat Torchia Women's Softball League playoffs concluded...
Berkshires Craft Beer Fest...
The 9th annual Western Mass beer festival drew hundreds of...
Pat Torchia Women's Softball...
Whitman's took the first game in the best two out of three...
Third Thursday August 2015
It was another beautiful night for 3rd Thursday on North...
Berkshire Chamber @ Darrow...
The Berkshire Chamber of Commerce held its monthly...
Shire City Sessions August...
Wild Adriatic performs at Monday's Shire City Sessions, a...
BYP Networking @WTF
The Berkshire Young Professionals held its networking event...
Softball: VFW Post vs Pizza...
VFW Post vs Pizza House at DiSanti field on Monday night.
Second Cheshire Block Party
Cheshire resident enjoyed good food and music by the...
Downtown Celebration 2015
The annual Downtown Celebration brought hundreds to Main...
Pittsfield Ethnic Fair
Pittsfield Ethnic Fair was held at the Pittsfield Common on...
Annual Cruz Nite And...
Cheshire residents enjoyed classic cars, good food, a BMX...
Adams National Night Out 2015
Adams recognized its first responders on Tuesday night...
National Night Out 2015
Neighborhoods in North Adams marked the annual National...
Adams Aggie Demo Derby 2015
Crash! Boom! Bang! The annual Aggie Fair demolition derby...
Live on the Lake: Madison...
Madison Avenue wrapped up the 2015 Live on the Lake concert...
Whitman's Wins Torchia League...
The Pat Torchia Women's Softball League playoffs concluded...
Berkshires Craft Beer Fest...
The 9th annual Western Mass beer festival drew hundreds of...
Pat Torchia Women's Softball...
Whitman's took the first game in the best two out of three...
Third Thursday August 2015
It was another beautiful night for 3rd Thursday on North...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings |
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2012 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy| User Agreement