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Tutterow Talks on Today's Economic, Political, and Business Climate
Friday, September 11, 2015 6:45 AM

Roger Tutterow

As Thursday afternoon's keynote speaker at the 2015 Leadership Conference, Roger Tutterow addressed the economy, politics, and business in the current global, national, and regional economies. He gave the audience a snapshot of where we are today and where we're headed in 2016.

To start, Tutterow asked, "Is it possible we are now in the seventh year of this economic recovery? How has it worked out for you so far?"

The problem is, he said, six and a half years in, we’re still waiting for things to feel normal again. In 2014, we cleared important hurdles that were necessary conditions for a return to normalcy. The reason it took so long to get back to normal was due to the timid pace of recovery. But the good news is, the economy has been consistently expanding.

With the slow first quarter, Tutterow said, we need to consider things like inclement weather, labor disputes that disrupted our ability to bring in goods to the country, and a correction in the energy industry, including oil price decreases. He also said the strengthening of the U.S. dollar is hurting us on trade. Strong dollar and softness in the energy sector are holding us back a little in 2015 related to GDP growth.

Manufacturing has come back in this country, and is right up there with healthcare, he said. It's done as well in our economy as it has during any time during the past two decades, but the cost of energy and labor costs are impacting the comeback in manufacturing.

More companies are looking at re-shoring production to the U.S. than at any time during the past quarter century. Our exports have moderated while our imports have soared, and he points to the labor cost differential between Asia and the U.S., saying it's eroding away.

It was the early part of 2013 before retail returned to “normal,” he said, and he warned that banks are trying to move into car and truck financing at levels that they haven’t done before. 

Some good news: about 35 states out of 50 are employing more people than they did in December 2007.

Then there’s the consumer, Tutterow says. How does the consumer feel about the current economic environment? Consumer sentiment dropped down to the lowest level since January 1980 during the early parts of the recession, but we built it back up so that it's consistent with a normal range for a healthy economy.

Roger Tutterow, PhD, is a professor of economics at Kennesaw State University. He also serves as director of the Econometric Center, an applied research center housed in KSU’s Coles College of Business and has been featured in a variety of media, from Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today to CNN, CNBC, and NBC.