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Spring Economic Forecast to Address Endurance of Second Longest U.S. Recovery

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The second longest U.S. economic recovery is still apace, but risks are increasing. Heightened financial market volatility, trade policy uncertainty, and some slowing in global markets pose potential dangers.

If you’re among those asking “Can this expansion last?” Cal State Fullerton economists Anil Puri and Mira Farka have the answers.

The duo will discuss the economic outlook for the United States and Orange County during the Thursday, May 3, Spring Economic Forecast Conference “Melt-Up or Melt-Down: Prospects for Growth Amidst Growing Policy Risks.”

Their presentations will offer insights on the forces likely to shape the economic forecast over the next two years with special focus on business, consumer and labor markets, as well as important policy issues including the impact of the recently passed tax law.

“In our view the most significant factor affecting the future path of the economy will be the actions of the Federal Reserve Bank in raising interest rates,” Puri said. “Fundamentals of the U.S. and local economies continue to remain strong.”

Trade issues and the administration’s “protectionist tones” also top the list of topics, Farka said. “There’s a lot of interest by the market and business leaders on the potential for a trade war,” she said. “People are interested to know how the recent escalation of trade tensions will impact the economy. We will discuss all that and more to give business leaders a better perspective on these thorny issues,” she added.

Hundreds of business leaders gather in spring and again in fall each year to hear the presentations on research and analyses at the national and regional level, and policy advice on economic issues. Their presentations outperformed industry consensus in accuracy for the past four years, matching real GDP or gross domestic product with employment growth, unemployment and the inflation rate.

Their October presentation to nearly 700 people anticipated continued momentum in the nearly decade-long economic recovery, but a slower progression in Orange County. Will this trend continue in the current year and beyond?

“Make no mistake about it — we are in a new regime, with transitions to a higher-growth, higher-inflation, higher-volatility environment from an earlier regime when all three were repressed,” Farka said. “This has enormous implications for monetary policy and the economy at large.”

Interest rates have risen steadily during the year, reflecting both improved economic outlook and higher anticipated inflation, she added. “The demise of previous expansions has more often come from policy mistakes at this stage of the policy cycle.”

Puri and Farka lead the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting. A February report by economics professor Adrian Fleissig and posted on the center’s website highlighted that Southern California Leading Economic Indicators increased by 0.81 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, hinting at a pickup in economic activity in the Southern California region in the next six months.

Puri, a member of the faculty since 1977, has served as dean of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, as well as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. He has presented the biannual economic forecasts for Orange County and the nation for more than 20 years.

Farka, an associate professor of economics, has taught at CSUF since 2005. She has published in leading academic journals and is frequently invited to share her financial and economic expertise with businesses, government and educational organizations.

The 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May 3 program sponsored by California Bank and Trust will be held at the Irvine Marriott, 1800 Von Karman Ave., Irvine.

The cost to attend the forecast is $175 per seat or $1,750 to $5,000 for a corporate table of 10. Sponsorships are available. Reservations are required and can be made online.