WMDT 47 News - As President Obama prepares for his upcoming, economy-focused State of the Union address, financial experts, politicians and business owners on the Eastern Shore are doing some planning of their own.
"I've been here for 43 years and I just can't believe we haven't done more," a long-time Salisbury resident said.
While some remain pessimistic about economic recovery on Delmarva, local leaders at the 2014 Economic Forecast Conference say the worst is behind us.
"Wicomico County has three bond ratings every time it sells debt. We went to New York in October for the most recent bond sale and the county was upgraded twice which is almost unheard of," Senior VP at Davenport & Co. Sam Ketterman said.
"I don't think anybody can claim that we have recovered, but I think we're on track to one," Wicomico County Council President Matt Holloway said.
Experts say getting back on track begins with American manufacturing.
"The manufacturing renaissance is really kind of the key part of our capital market forecast. Cost competitiveness from an energy standpoint, makes the U.S. attractive –globally competitive, to be able to increase output here. The downside of our forecast is that we don't really see that benefiting labor very much, as so much of the manufacturing that's going on now, is really automated," economist and Senior Managing Director of Wilmington Trust Chris Kreicker said.
Other big drivers for the Eastern Shore continue to be real estate, tourism, development, and agriculture.
"The good news is we have pretty low interest rates. Even though we expect them to increase over the next couple of years, it's still relatively attractive from an interest rate standpoint. Also this area continues to have a pretty attractive profile – the retiree leaving Connecticut or New Jersey and immigrating to the Delmarva Peninsula. Agriculture continues to be strong – maybe not quite as strong as it had been as prices have softened up a bit, but that's a nice base part of the economy here. And Tourism continues to be an attractive destination – you can't move the ocean," Kreicker said.
He says we need to focus on creating a business-friendly environment.
"Making sure that the tax environment is reasonable and the work force is educated. Trying to create an environment where people want to settle is pretty important."
For local business owner David Wharton, 2013 was a good year, but not as good as he wanted it to be. But he says 2014 is already off to a great start.
"We've already done a wedding show the first part of January, and we had better attendance there. And we're seeing a lot better response."
It's a positive step towards recovery, but experts warn it's going to be a slow and steady process.
"We came out of the crisis kind of crawling, maybe we get up to walking, but we're not quite ready for a sprint just yet," Kreicker said.
He goes on to say that having access to inexpensive natural gas and energy are also going to be important in bringing business to our area.
Thursday, April 17 2014 8:27 PM EDT2014-04-18 00:27:28 GMT
SALISBURY, Md. - If you're looking for something to do this evening -- why not head out to the shorebirds game and learn how you can help battle hunger on the eastern shore ---with the 3rd annual StrikeMore >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 8:22 PM EDT2014-04-18 00:22:18 GMT
SALISBURY, Md. - Delmarva Shorebirds Starter Steven Brault takes home the win in Wednesday's series finale with the Hagerstown Suns. Brault gave up 2 earned runs on 7 hits, while striking out 7 in 6 completeMore >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 8:21 PM EDT2014-04-18 00:21:22 GMT
SALISBURY, Md. - A wild, back and fourth, game ended with a win for the Shorebirds Thursday night in their home opener.Delmarva trailed 4 to 2 when the Greensboro Grasshoppers had a meltdown, and the 'BirdsMore >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 8:01 PM EDT2014-04-18 00:01:30 GMT
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore introduced Bobby Collins Wednesday as it's newest men's head basketball coach. Over the course of his 12-year career, Coach Collins has alreadyMore >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:10 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:10:00 GMT
WICOMICO CO., Md. - There's a possibility of cutbacks on school personnel after the county executive released his proposed budget for next year.Wicomico County Schools may not have enough money to keepMore >>
WICOMICO CO., Md. - There's a possibility of cutbacks on school personnel after the county executive released his proposed budget for next year.More >>
The WMDT 47 Teachers Who Make a Difference Contest is Sponsored by Accurate Optical: "Encouraging children of all ages to come in for an annual eye exam to help them see better in school." Each month weMore >>
The WMDT 47 "Teachers Who Make a Difference" Sponsored by Accurate Optical Encouraging children of all ages to come in for an annual eye exam to help them see better in school.More >>
The WMDT/Mountaire Better Delmarva Award is a monthly honor designed to highlight local individuals, businesses, civic organizations or classrooms who are going above and beyond in their effort to assist others in the community or to improve and protect the local environment. Each month a winner is chosen by a Mountaire selection committee from submitted nominations.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:46 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:46:47 GMT
DORCHESTER CO., Md. - Police are releasing more information after a large drug bust in Dorchester County on April 11th. During a press conference on Wednesday morning, Officials displayed approximatelyMore >>
DORCHESTER CO., Md. - Police are releasing more information after a large drug bust in Dorchester County on April 11th.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 3:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 19:06:15 GMT
CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A Cambridge man was arrested on Friday, on multiple drug charges. The Dorchester County Narcotics Task Force searched a home on Moose Lodge Road, in Cambridge, and arrested Shannon Banks,More >>
CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A Cambridge man was arrested on Friday, on multiple drug charges.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:09:04 GMT
LITTLE CREEK, Del. - A fatal motor vehicle crash that also injured three people, is under investigation in Little Creek. Delaware State Police say the incident happened on Wednesday night, around 9:30More >>
LITTLE CREEK, Del. - A fatal motor vehicle crash that also injured three people, is under investigation in Little Creek.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 5:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:07:30 GMT
SALISBURY, Md. - Police have released new information from their investigation into a Wednesday morning home invasion in Salisbury, that left one man dead, and another injured. Maryland State Police sayMore >>
SALISBURY, Md. - Police have released new information from their investigation into a Wednesday morning home invasion in Salisbury, that left one man dead, and another injured.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:02:59 GMT
CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A Wednesday afternoon house fire in Cambridge is under investigation, after killing two dogs. The Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office says the blaze started around 3:45 PM in the firstMore >>
CAMBRIDGE, Md. - A Wednesday afternoon house fire in Cambridge is under investigation, after killing two dogs.More >>
WMDT's Emily Lampa sat down with the Wicomico County Sheriff's Department to review the Most Wanted individuals in the County. Starting Monday, November 4, we will air a four-party series on Wicomico'sMore >>
Have you seen these suspects? Click here to review the wanted individuals and find out who to contact with information. More >>