January 2, 2009

Gold eclipses hard times in Nevada town

The economic slowdown hasn't dodged the small gold-mining town of Battle Mountain, Nev. -- it's done something else: It's helped, town residents said.

As the economies around the globe have fallen into a slump, the price of gold -- a refuge for investors in hard times -- has soared, reaching $892 an ounce Monday, not far behind the record price of more than $1,000 an ounce set in March, The New York Times reported.

In Nevada, which has led the nation in foreclosures for 23 months, I don't know of anybody who is getting foreclosed on, said Battle Mountain resident Charlotte Thompson.

Unemployment in the town is 4.8 percent, although Nevada's unemployment rate is 8 percent. Mining jobs with starting salaries of more than $60,000 are unfilled, due to the lack of qualified workers, and house prices have done what parts of the country -- what most of the country -- would figure is impossible: Appreciated.

Barrick Pipeline Mine shift supervisor Robert Perry, said, My house I bought five years ago for $134,000, and right now it's worth about $300,000.

We're always the opposite of the rest of the country, Thompson said.