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Let's Talk Business: Seasons Change – and the Economy Does Too

Ethan Kelley, legislative analyst, explains the Morgantown economy's seasonal cycles.

Seasons change throughout the year, and their economic impact can be seen right here in Morgantown.  During the fall and winter, everyone moves indoors to enjoy activities like axe throwing and escape rooms. In summer, everyone’s outside enjoying the warm weather, kayaking on the Mon River, and hiking through Coopers Rock.

But why do we see this shift in local economic activity?

It can be explained by what economists refer to as seasonal cycles, as discussed in a Federal Reserve paper on how seasons impact businesses and employment. How an economy will change depends on several factors, like the season, geography and the different industries that make up the economy. The Federal Reserve has another article on this, discussing some of the challenges when working with seasonal data.

Here in Morgantown, we experience all four seasons during the year, from the warmer weather in the spring and summer to the cooler and snowy weather in the fall and winter. Our little mountain home changes with each season, and the seasons impact and shape our lives and spending habits throughout the year.

The population of Morgantown tends to fluctuate with the seasons too. As a college town, we see an influx of students in the fall and an outflux in late spring, with smaller fluxes during breaks. These shifts in population size certainly contribute to general demand in the local economy. With a higher population during the school year, there are more potential buyers of goods and services.

In the summer, the demand for many different goods and services falls, especially indoor activities and warm winter treats, which may have seen a boost in activity during the cooler months. However, many people check out the Morgantown Farmers Market and the Botanic Garden, while others boat around Cheat Lake and kayak along the Mon River. Plus, the demand for cool, sweet treats increases, and who doesn’t love ice cream!

What happens in Morgantown, in any season, is only a snapshot of what’s happening nationwide, and studying economics at the Chambers College can help you understand these local and national trends. Want to learn more? Come join us – unless we’re away on vacation.

Ethan Kelley
Legislative Analyst, Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation

"Let's Talk Business" is a series of guest blogs written by members of the Chambers College community. All views expressed in this post are the author's own.

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Chambers College