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Economists Project Gradual Growth

19th Annual Event Attended by 900 Business Leaders

Oct. 24, 2013

Richard K. Davis

Richard K. Davis

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Though the national economy causes great uncertainty for consumers and businesses, there is potential for growth over the next two years, according to Cal State Fullerton economists Anil K. Puri and Mira Farka, who delivered their projections Oct. 24 during the 19th annual Economic Forecast Conference, sponsored by Mihaylo College of Business and Economics and the Orange County Business Council.
“The economy is in a holding pattern right now,” said Puri, adding that he expects slow but steady growth in 2014 and quicker growth in 2015. “Things are getting better. We are positioned for recovery” from the Great Recession of 2008.
According to the forecast report, “the four years that have elapsed create a much-needed distance from the Great Recession. The healing process has progressed in earnest in almost all sectors: the process of deleveraging is almost complete; the banking sector has regained its vigor; credit has normalized; corporate profits are at near-record levels; and business balance sheets are healthy. … These improvements point to an overall upbeat outlook for the U.S. economy.”
Puri, dean of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics and interim associate vice president for academic programs, directs the college's Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting with Mira Farka, associate professor of economics. They presented the forecast at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine before an audience of more than 900 business and education leaders and elected officials. Moe images from the event can be viewed online.
Among Puri and Farka's predictions for 2014: gradual payroll job growth — a 2.5 percent increase in Orange County and 2.1 percent increase in the five-county Southern California region; and steady decline in the unemployment rate — 5.6 percent in Orange County and 9.2 percent in Southern California.
Home prices in the region “rose at an exceptionally fast clip in the last 12 months,” and construction activity has grown in Orange County, the report notes, but a “cooling in home price appreciation” is expected. And, “uncertainty over interest rates and the overall economy appears to have caused builders to become more cautious, especially for the balance of 2013 and early into next year.”
Orange County “will lead the state and the country in economic recovery,” CSUF alumna Lucy Dunn ’76 (B.A. political science), president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, told the conference attendees.
Added CSUF President Mildred García: “For more than 55 years, Cal State Fullerton has played a major role in Southern California’s intellectual, cultural and economic life. We provide nearly 9,000 jobs and are the 10th largest employer in Orange County. We generate more than $1 billion in economic activity and more than $65 million in state and local tax revenue. We know that continued economic growth in Orange County is linked to jobs and a well-trained workforce.”

Also speaking at the conference was alumnus Richard K. Davis ’83 (B.A. economics), chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp. He said he believes the economy will improve.
“This economy in the greatest country in the world, slowly but surely, is on it’s way,” said Davis, who presented his observations and predictions and shared his outlook on America’s banks and their eagerness to help consumers gain economic confidence. “Banks are healthy. Banks are getting much, much smarter. We understand our role. We want to be the catalyst for this recovery.”

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