In advance of the 2012 budget-planning sessions, Douglas County’s treasurer’s office hosted an economic summit with a trio of industry experts who delivered similar messages.
The state and nation are on their way to an economic recovery, but it’s not time to celebrate yet.
County treasurer Diane Holbert brought a panel of experts to the commissioner’s hearing room April 4, for a 2013 economic forecast forum. The forum was aimed at public and private sector policy makers whose jobs revolve around the budget planning process, said Wendy Holmes, Douglas County director of public affairs.
Presenters included Glenn Scott, a portfolio manager with Davidson Fixed Income Management, who discussed investment of government funds; Patricia Silverstein, president of Development Research Partners, with an economic forecast of Metro Denver; and Natalie Mullis, chief economist for the Colorado legislative council, with a presentation on the future of the Colorado economy and state budget.
While each was working their own data, their messages were similar. Colorado and the metro area are on the way to recovery, with economic growth that is slightly above the national average.
Among the brighter spots in the economic outlook are a rebound of business conditions as businesses rediscover their footing, strength in the export and labor markets and an upswing in consumer spending, Mullis said.
The baggage that remains includes the slow recovery of the housing market, a historic low in construction starts and the threat of a drop in the European market, she said.
While awareness about the impact of the European market has been slow in coming, many U.S. banks are vulnerable to a potential drop in the Euro because of European debt holdings at American banks, Mullis said. The potential impact is unknown and depends on the amount of European debt in the hands of U.S. investors, she said.
“It could impact the private sector,” Mullis said. “Businesses are very conscientious of this but it will take a long time to work out, there will be lots of ups and downs. The private sector should just start moving forward.”
High levels of uncertainty continue to dog the private sector, reflected in spending patterns that lean toward life’s necessities. Utilities and gas stations ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in 2011 among the fastest growing retail trades in Colorado.
For more information about the summit and to view the power point presentations from the industry experts, visit the county’s website at http://www.douglas.co.us/treasurer/Economic_Forecast_Forum.html.