Cedar City: Sometimes Down, Never Out
There's been a lot of chatter in the national media about the possibility of a recession in the country later this year or the start of 2024. While this might cause an increase of anxiety in some, and, yes, could bring some challenging times to us, a big part of me believes that we will be able to survive the upcoming downturn, if it does in fact develop.
I don't believe we are facing a recession like the one that came our way in 2008 in part because the real estate market continues strong and foreclosures seem less likely to be as significant this time around.
The other reason for my optimism? Cedar City, Utah.
Cedar City had a strong industrial presence for much of the 20th century, centered around the iron mining industry. The town was home to several iron mines that employed a significant portion of the local population, and the economy of the town was heavily dependent on this industry. However, as demand for iron decreased in the latter half of the century, the mines began to close, and Cedar City's economy shifted.
I've been here a long time, but wasn't here in the late 70's and 80's when the Iron Mines closed. The closure of the iron mines had a profound impact on Cedar City. Many people lost their jobs, and the town's population began to decline as people moved away to find work elsewhere. The closure of the mines also had a ripple effect on the local economy, as businesses that had relied on the mining industry for their own livelihoods struggled to stay afloat.
From all I've been able to gather, the loss of the mines back then was a tougher time for our community than 2008 or the pandemic.
In the immediate aftermath of the closures, Cedar City faced significant economic challenges. The town's leaders recognized the need to diversify the economy and attract new industries to the area.
Efforts were made to promote tourism, particularly by leveraging the town's natural beauty and proximity to national parks. As we all know, Cedar City is just a short drive away from Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, and the town has been able to attract visitors to stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and participate in outdoor recreation.
Over time, these efforts to diversify the economy have paid off.
Cedar City has become a hub for cultural events and activities, particularly with the establishment of the Utah Shakespeare Festival in the 1960s.
The town has also attracted a variety of other industries, including healthcare and education, and today our Cedar City is a thriving community with a strong economy and a population of around 33,000 people. While the closure of the iron mines was a significant challenge for Cedar City, the town has been able to adapt and thrive in the years since. And our Economic Development team continues to attract new business interests to our community.
So, am I concerened about the economic future? Maybe a little, but not that much. I live in Cedar City.