KADAC Forecasts Slowdown in Lehigh Valley Economy
The Lehigh Valley is bracing for an economic downturn.
Dr. Kamran Afshar, director of the Kamran Afshar Data Analytics Center at DeSales University, released the results of the latest Lehigh Valley Business Sentiment Index (BSI) along with students Megan Mess, Matthew O’Neill, Emma Stanfield, and Tyler Sarge.
According to the survey, the valley is still in the midst of a tight labor market and businesses are not laying off. But the hiring pattern that peaked last October has been declining, and momentum for hiring is also crashing.
“We are still in the area that represents growth but we are no longer in the strong growth region that we were before,” Afshar said, while noting that this is the first time since the Great Recession that the valley is facing a significant drop in plans for future hiring.
Purchasing patterns also remain in the growth region but that index is declining as well, reflecting a sentiment of extreme caution. Afshar is predicting a significant slowdown in the local economy over the next six to nine months, but he cautions against using the r-word just yet.
“I always emphasize that these are forecasts; none of them are prophecies. There is no question we are on top of the hill. The question is are we starting to go down, and, if we are, is it going to be a soft landing?”
The BSI is based on quarterly data collected since 1998 and reflects Lehigh Valley businesses’ survey responses around key economic and political events.