Cumberland Times-News

March 16, 2014

Says who?

Prediction: City economy will drop by 3.9 percent


Cumberland Times-News

COLLEGE PARK — We humans love predictions. Why, is hard to say. It may have something to do with a craving for certainty in an uncertain world.

Countless people from cultures and religions all over the world have been predicting the imminent end of the world for thousands of years.

So far, it hasn’t happened.

Each year, the release of pre-season college football and basketball ranking polls is accompanied by a great deal of whooping and cheering, often by people who are going to wind up disappointed by the end results.

You can count on this, if nothing else: Some of the teams who were highly rated will almost immediately go into the tank, while others who got no respect at all will wind up somewhere in the Top 25.

And there’s this: During the winter, when it appears a storm is headed our way, at least some of us remain glued to the various weather prognosticating services for the latest update on how many inches of frozen precipitation we’re going to get.

It’s not unusual, at least in these parts, for predicted heavy storms to wind up being insignificant — or else we get dumped upon when the forecast was for something light.

Recently, we learned about a new prediction: An economic forecast by the United States Conference of Mayors expects that Cumberland’s economy will decline by 3.9 percent this year.

In response, Cumberland’s Mayor Brian Grimm said, “They don’t say how they collect the data. At a time when companies like Hunter Douglas are growing an expanding, I don’t put a lot of faith in reports like this.”

City Administrator Jeff Rhodes said the report is based heavily on the value of goods and services produced.

Whatever. Predicting that Cumberland’s economy will decline by 3.9 (or any other) percent is about like saying on Sunday that we can expect to get an inch of snow on Wednesday afternoon.

Something just might happen to bring an improvement to our economy. Our economic picture in recent years has brought some good news — including the opening of the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which has hired 300 people.

As far as we’re concerned, the prediction of a future decline in our economy is just another SWG — a Scientific Wild Guess.