Who knew that the time was right to bring back a chamber business luncheon featuring the ever-popular chamber chicken dish and a world-renowned economist? Well, the West Orange Chamber knew, of course.
It’s also known as pent-up demand, an economic term (if I’m remembering correctly from my few courses in college). This term applies to so much since the lockdown of the pandemic, from travel to eating out to hugging people.
The pandemic has caused many of us, including the chamber, to limit things that were second nature to us. Our luncheons, which always present valuable information to our members, had to be put on hold in 2020. Yet, we knew that bringing back an in-person, CDC-safe luncheon with a relevant topic would relieve that pent-up demand for people to be in a room with one another and to hear first-hand if our economy would continue to move in the right direction.
Our luncheon did exactly that and more. Most people couldn’t imagine that a luncheon featuring an economist would have them laughing and smiling throughout, yet that is exactly what the attendees experienced. Sean Snaith, Ph.D., Director of UCF’s Institute of Economic Forecasting and an internationally recognized economist in the field of business and economic forecasting, is also known for his quick wit and self-deprecating sense of humor. He makes a dry subject not only interesting but relevant.
The luncheon gave business owners the information they needed to know that our economy is growing and will continue to do so. This knowledge gave them the competitive edge and affirms their decisions for hiring more personnel and approving additional capital expenditures – all activities that will keep us moving in a positive direction.
Dr. Snaith also shared that the housing market will continue to be a seller’s market. The current, available inventory of homes in our region is at 1.2 months, whereas, in 2020, it was at 2.4 months. This housing shortage has caused prices to go up by 19% from a comparison of March 2020 to March 2021.
The good news is that a repeat of the housing bubble bursting isn’t likely, even with low interest rates, since financial institutions have maintained strict guidelines on those able to receive mortgages. That is great news for all.
Some other great news is from Tallahassee. Main Street Fairness, an important issue on the collection of sales taxes from out-of-state, online retailers, was signed into law. This will bring much-needed revenue to our state and helps businesses with their unemployment taxes. Another item that was signed into law is fondly known as Alcohol To-Go. This legislation will help restaurants bolster revenue in sales from packaged alcohol to-go.
This year is looking good! To learn about more 2021 wins for the local business community, visit wochamber.com.