JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, stopping in Park City, makes bullish prediction for ski season
Business in the winter could be the best ever, highly influential financial figure says at local bank
Jamie Dimon, the chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and one of the financial industry’s most influential figures, has a bullish outlook for Park City’s ski season.
The winter could be the best ever, he said during a recent stop in Park City as part of a multi-state swing visiting bank branches. In an interview with The Park Record at the Park Avenue branch, Dimon described American consumers as having $2 trillion more than they did prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“I think you’re going to be very healthy. My guess is it will be better than you’ve ever seen it. I hate to forecast the future, but that would be my guess,” he said about the ski season.
Dimon said lots of the fiscal and monetary stimulus deployed during the pandemic remains in place and unspent. The stimulus monies will continue to boost economic numbers into 2022, he said, predicting “a very strong economy.” He acknowledged an unknown coronavirus variant that may eventually emerge is “the only thing that’s going to derail it, in my view, in the next year.” The delta variant of the sickness, currently responsible for sharp increases in cases, will not cause another economic shutdown, he predicted.
“They’re actually spending more money now on travel than they spent before COVID. … My guess is these hotels will all be completely booked in the winter session,” Dimon said.
He spoke about a scenario for the ski season with benefits across the economic spectrum. People are headed back to work and wages are increasing, he said.
“So, I think it’s going to be good for everyone. Obviously, the wealthy will come back to skiing, but I think it is going to be good for everyone,” he said. “A healthy economy is good for everybody. People have to always keep that in mind. Just like a bad economy is bad for everyone, but it hurts lower-paid (people) more.”
The ski season starts in a little more than three months, but reservations usually begin in earnest in the fall. The ski industry in the most recent winter, the first full ski season in the coronavirus era, surprised to the upside as people flocked to Park City and elsewhere in the state. The sport’s outdoors setting was seen as something that offered a safe alternative as people last winter sought distance between one another with coronavirus cases soaring through the cold-weather months. Solid economic numbers also contributed to a record-breaking year on Utah slopes during the 2020-2021 season with more than 5.3 million skier days.
A prediction like the one made by Dimon for the upcoming ski season will be encouraging to the broad Park City community. A strong ski season brings widespread economic benefits that stretch beyond the mountain resorts themselves. Numbers in sectors like lodging, restaurant, retail and transportation typically rise alongside the resort industry.
Staffers at the Park Avenue branch of the bank appeared to be thrilled with the visit. Many gathered around Dimon as he delivered brief remarks. One held a sign welcoming him to Park City. There was logo wear and other corporate goods available to them on a table.
Park City regularly hosts high-profile figures from the business, government and entertainment worlds, but few hold the same clout as Dimon, and the number of those sorts of visits is believed to have dropped significantly during the pandemic.
Dimon in the interview addressed a range of topics like the real estate industry, Washington politics and the Utah economy.
He said the only down real estate markets in the U.S. are those in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. He said mortgage rates are low and housing prices are climbing “almost too much. It’s making it harder for people to buy.”
“Housing has never been better. Ever. And you see it in pricing. It’s still in short supply. We don’t build enough homes anymore. So, I’m not saying in Park City, but America’s got to start building more homes,” he said.
Dimon did not have detailed knowledge of the Park City real estate market, which has been robust during the pandemic, but said he would anticipate strength.
“I may be wrong. I have not looked at Park City’s real estate market. I’d be shocked if it wasn’t doing very well,” he said.
Dimon spoke about the national political scene, saying he is not worried about Washington in the short term. There are long-term concerns, though, he said.
“If you go around the world, people question America’s competence now. We can’t get things done. We’re too partisan. … Our policies don’t work. We had the Jan. 6 riots in Washington. We’ve had, you know, racial problems, stuff like that. So people are actually starting to question it,” he said.
He answered affirmatively when asked whether he questions the competence of the U.S.
“In the last 20 years, I think, we’ve done a really bad job on infrastructure, health care, education, regulation, litigation, innovation,” he said.
Still, though, he praised the nation and the progress made since the early days of the spread of the coronavirus.
“The country’s still doing fine. Obviously, a lot of people got hurt by COVID, but it’s amazing for the ability of the country to just to get there. And it was the first country back. Remember people were making fun of America, that we didn’t do it right, we had more COVID than everybody else,” he said. “Well, who invented the vaccine? America. Who (vaccinated) their people first? America. Who’s now going to do a billion or 2 billion doses for the rest of the world? America. Which is the economy that came back first? America. … You should be very optimistic about the future of this country,” he said.
Dimon predicted the Utah economy will perform well. He was not sure about a larger presence for the bank in the future in Park City, though. Dimon’s assessment of the Salt Lake City region resembled commonly made predictions.
“First of all, it’s beautiful. It’s one of the rare places in the world you can go from a beautiful city, take a 30-minute drive and go to a beautiful ski place in the mountains. And then, of course, you have universities and companies, and it’s a good work environment,” he said. “You’ve had good management of the state for decades now. And that stuff (will) drive growth. And I know companies are moving here, and we’ve been expanding along with the expansion of Utah.”
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