Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Regional Trends


efore we dive into specific types of facilities, let's take a look at how the information we gathered in our survey breaks down according to regional trends.

We know that some areas of the country have been doing better in the economic downturn than others. We also know that, downturn or not, some areas have specific issues that others don't. For example, construction costs in the mountains tend to be higher. Materials chosen along the coastline need to take saltwater into account. Facilities in Florida and Arizona often make use of shade structures to keep things cool. Facilities further north are far more likely to include winter sports in their programming equation.

When it comes to economics, the downturn has been particularly hard in some areas. The highest rates of foreclosures in 2009, for example, were in Nevada, where more than 10 percent of housing units received at least one foreclosure filing in 2009, according to RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosing properties. It was followed by Arizona, with more than 6 percent, and Florida, with 5.9 percent. Other states that had the dubious distinction of falling in the top 10 for foreclosure rates were California (4.75 percent), Utah (2.93 percent), Idaho (2.72 percent), Georgia (2.68 percent), Michigan (2.61 percent), Illinois (2.5 percent) and Colorado (2.37 percent).

Many of these states that are experiencing the highest foreclosure rates also are experiencing some of the highest unemployment rates—many in double digits. The highest unemployment rates in the county are seen in Michigan, where 14 percent were unemployed in March 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was followed by Nevada (13.4 percent), California and Rhode Island (12.6 percent), Florida (12.3 percent), and South Carolina (12.2 percent).

It is difficult to determine the impact of unemployment, housing foreclosures and other economic indicators on a regional basis, as many states within the same region feature widely disparate economic performance. For example, the Midwest, which includes Michigan with its extremely high unemployment, also includes five of the 10 states experiencing the lowest unemployment, including North Dakota, which can boast of the lowest unemployment rate nationwide, at 4 percent.

In addition, while the economy in general may be faring differently in different states and regions, the way it is affecting recreation, sports and fitness facilities can vary vastly from one region to another. In some areas, a culture of recreation and fitness is more engrained than in others.