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February 13, 2024 MWCRE Market Pulse

Posted by Jerad Giottonini on February 15, 2024
Idaho Falls Is Best-Performing Small City,
Utah Cities Rank in Top Five

  • For the third time in a row, Idaho Falls ranked America’s Best-Performing Small City according to the Milken Institute. The institute ranks cities by economic performance. Idaho Falls’ strong job and wage growth with high performance in the tech industry were significant factors in Idaho Falls’ top ranking.
  • Salt Lake City and Provo ranked fourth and fifth respectively in the nation’s “Best Performing Cities” list by the Milken Institute.
  • St. George secured the fourth position among smaller cities in the same ranking.
  • Utah was the sole state to have two cities within the top five for larger metropolitan areas.
  • The Milken Institute evaluates approximately 400 metro areas, considering factors like economic indicators, technological development, and resilience to adverse conditions.
  • Income equality and resilience to disasters were newly added criteria, with Utah cities generally performing well in both categories, underscoring the sustainability of their economic growth and their capacity to withstand disruptions like those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Sources:, Axios, Milken Institute

By Dan Bradford

Smaller Industrial Properties Experiencing
Near Record Low Vacancies

  • Industrial properties smaller than 25,000 SF constitute 29% of the U.S. industrial inventory, but only 2% of the industrial space under construction in 2024.
  • The process of acquiring and entitling a land parcel to build an industrial building is often time-consuming, no matter the size of the building. Over the last few years, to maximize investors’ dollars and employees’ time, developers have largely elected to build large distribution centers or manufacturing facilities that generate long-term leases from multinational companies.
  • Inventory growth for buildings smaller than 100,000 SF has grown by about 2% cumulatively over the last five years, compared to 16% growth for properties 100,000+ SF.
  • National vacancy for properties under 100,000 SF remains below 4%, near record lows, compared to 6.3% for properties 100,000+ SF.
  • Along the Wasatch Front (Davis, Salt Lake, Utah and Weber Counties), the disparity in vacancy between the <100,000 SF and ≥100,000 SF buildings is even greater, 3.1% to 9.3%, as inventory growth in ≥100,000 SF buildings averaged 6.1% in the last five years compared to 1.5% for buildings <100,000 SF.
  • Sources: CoStar

By Rich Lachowsky

The Numbers For Job Cuts and New
Hires Are Not Aligning
  • Tech giants like Snap, Zwift, Salesforce, Meta, and Amazon have recently announced significant job cuts. These layoffs, totaling an estimated 32,000 in 2024 alone, reflect slowing growth or cost-saving measures.
  • While ongoing layoffs could impact the labor market later in the year, current hiring remains robust. January saw nonfarm employment increase by 353,000 positions, the fastest pace since the previous January.
  • The government’s annual benchmark revision, incorporating more accurate payroll data, revealed stronger job growth in 2023, with an additional 359,000 positions added.
  • Despite significant media attention for job cuts, the tech sector, including computer systems design services, totals around 6.7 million jobs, with an increase of 31,000 positions in January, nearly offsetting the number of announced layoffs in 2024. The tech sector is not particularly large, comprising only 4.3% of total nonfarm employment.
  • Despite revised population and employment estimates, the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.7% in January, with a consistent participation rate of 62.5%.
  • January’s unexpected wage growth, potentially contributing to inflation, suggests the Fed will adopt a cautious approach. Market expectations indicate a 20% chance of a rate cut in March and a 70% likelihood of the first rate cut in May.
  • Sources: CoStar

By James Ice

New Retailers Coming to Montana, JPMorgan Chase Expands, and Fast-Food Sale Growth Declines
  • In 2023, Jack in the Box signed agreements for 123 new restaurants, expanding into Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and Wyoming.
  • Del Taco revealed plans for 138 new units in the same year, marking its entry into Montana and Wyoming.
  • JPMorgan Chase aims to open 500 new banks and renovate 1,700 existing branches, emphasizing enhanced customer service and reaching underserved markets, including lower-income and rural communities.
    • With the largest U.S. branch network, Chase has added 650 branches in the past five years. This expansion stands out amid a trend of branch closures, as the total number of U.S. commercial bank branches fell below 70,000 by the end of 2022.
    • Despite the industry shift towards online services, about three-quarters of Chase’s deposits come from customers visiting physical branches.
  • Yum Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, faces challenges with increased fast-food costs, resulting in weaker-than-expected Q4 sales.
    • Taco Bell, its leading chain, experienced a 3% sales growth drop from the previous year. Pizza Hut’s US sales declined by 4%, and KFC sales remained flat, both below analyst projections.
    • CEO David Gibbs attributed the sales decline to the Middle East conflict, impacting several countries. The rising cost of dining out, surging 5.2% in 2023, intensifies pressure on lower-income consumers, essential for fast-food chains.
  • Sources: Investopedia, CNN, NBC Montana

By Saundra Fife

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