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Mayor says San Antonio is positioned to weather economic recession

Alamo Asian Chamber of Commerce crowd gathered for downtown luncheon crowd on Oct. 3, 2022.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
Alamo Asian Chamber of Commerce crowd gathered for luncheon at Maestro Entrepreneur Center on South Laredo St. on Oct. 3, 2022

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Monday addressed local recession concerns during a downtown luncheon with members of the Alamo Asian Chamber of Commerce.

Some economic experts say the United States is already in a recession, while others say one is on the way. But the local current economic indicators don't seem to spell trouble yet.

The job market has been steady with local unemployment around 4%. Sales tax collections in August were 6% above the same month last year, reflecting some healthy spending. The large tourism industry continues its comeback from the pandemic.

Nirenberg said the city will also continue to make investments, like those seen during the pandemic, to give small businesses the access they need to weather what's ahead.

"Access to capital, access to talent labor, making sure they are equipped to build through these next few years as the global economy shifts." Nirenberg said.

Local businesses said their biggest challenge has been filling openings.

Chamber President Will Ng said the current local worker shortage seen by companies is contributing to inflation.

"Companies are having to adjust their pricing ... to be able to hire people and good candidates and pay for ... higher wages," he said. Ng said businesses are passing on those costs to consumers — aggravating inflation.

Nirenberg said the city's economy is more diverse than ever, which could help it through a recession. He said the stable military jobs sector also helps makes the city a little more recession proof than other major U.S. cities.

National experts say as long as unemployment remains low, a recession may be staved off or made less severe.

San Antonio's hot housing market has cooled. The end of August marked five straight months of declines, but the San Antonio Board of Realtors blames the decline more on rising mortgage rates and supply chain issues in the construction industry and less on weaknesses in the local economy.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian