Feature Story

A Glimpse into the Future

November 18, 2014 – by Katie Nunner '15

A large crowd turned out for the annual Economic Outlook Conference, co-sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Economics and by the university’s Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Where will the economy be in 2015 and beyond? Will interest rates rise and inflation follow? What will happen to GDP? Panelists at Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2015 Economic Outlook Conference remain moderately optimistic about the future.

The conference, co-sponsored by the Department of Economics and the Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship shared perspectives from an international, national, and local angle.

Economics professor Goran Skosples, Ph.D., moderated the November 12 event that brought together students, faculty, and community members.

Conference panelists were Joel Elvery, Ph.D., of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, discussing the national economy; Bill LaFayette, Ph.D., founder of Regionomics LLC, discussing the local/regional economy; and Ian Sheldon, Ph.D., of The Ohio State University, discussing the world economy.

Ohio Wesleyan’s 2015 Economic Outlook Conference featured insights on the local, national, and world economies. Participating in the panel discussion were moderator and OWU associate professor of economics Goran Skosples (left) and experts Bill LaFayette, Joel Elvery, and Ian Sheldon. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Providing the international perspective, Sheldon predicted the world output forecast would grow by 3.8% in 2015, up from 3.6% this year. GDP and inflation are expected to strengthen in the advanced economies. He also discussed the possibility of “secular stagnation,” observing negative real interest rates may need to fall to equate savings with full employment.

Elvery, giving the national perspective, said GDP growth has been solid in recent quarters, inflation has been below targeted levels, and labor markets continue to improve. GDP is expected to improve in 2015 and overall conditions are expected to grow from last year. Elvery said the labor market and GDP have shown steady improvement in 2014, while the housing market remains relatively soft.

LaFayette continued the conversation at a local level. “You should never bet your life on the truth of economic statistics,” he said, explaining that current unemployment statistics are based on limited samples. He said central Ohio employment has seemed to hit a soft patch after having experienced 10 percent growth, while local and statewide trends also have flattened. He also discussed trends in Delaware County, where he said the good news outweighs the bad. Since 1980, population growth has tripled and employment has doubled since 2014.

A large crowd turned out for the annual Economic Outlook Conference, co-sponsored by Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Economics and by the university’s Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)