Schwan: Don’t let downtown momentum slow

Downtown Sioux Falls
Downtown Sioux Falls (Joe Ahlquist/Argus Leader)

I was asked recently to name the three biggest themes in local business that defined the first seven months of the year.

The first has to be continued solid growth. Major projects are under construction, including more than 40 buildings in excess of $1 million. South Dakota has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate. Houses in some price ranges are selling within days of going on the market.

The second theme, though, is a growing feeling of caution I’m sensing from many in business. There’s the uncertainty of the presidential election. There’s a softening in sales tax growth locally. July building permits, while still a solid $41 million, were half of what they were last July. It’s not alarming, but these economic indicators need to be watched closely in the months ahead.

The third theme probably could have gone a few directions. I thought about the workforce shortage and about wages. But it was hard to argue against including the noticeable momentum I’ve witnessed in downtown Sioux Falls.

To read the rest of my Sunday column, click here.

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