Economist: Economy booming, for now, but tariff impact looms

Economy in good shape for now in Valley, nationally

MIFFLINBURG – The booming US economy is being felt in the Valley and nationally, but thanks to a tariff and trade war, an uncertain future looms…so said Dr. Anirban Basu, President/CEO of Sage Policy Group in Baltimore, as he gave his sixth annual economic forecast presentation to the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.

He said when it comes to the Valley economy, unemployment rates down in all Valley counties and that is partly because of the national economy is doing well, “Namely things like industrial production, which is surging. A is the distribution and logistics industry, and part of that is this e-commerce revolution. There are also major universities here, there are major health systems here, and they also have been adding demand for workers, adding to collective spending power. You put it all together, it’s a really nice picture.”

In his report on Pennsylvania overall, Dr. Basu says 30,000 more jobs were created in education and health services. This despite the state being ranked 32nd for employment growth in the U.S.

But Dr. Basu things could change in our area and nationally around 2020-21 because of President Donald Trump’s latest tariffs on Chinese imports, “The affect of these tariffs is to drive up the prices consumers face, drive up inflation. Driving up inflation also has the tendency to drive up interest rates. When interest rates go up, that tends not to be good for asset prices, commercial real estate, bond evaluations, and the stock market.”

This means tough times could continue for Valley farmers, “The president is talking about 10-percent tariffs now, and then 25-percent tariffs next year, and that’s a big deal, because the reason we buy so much from China is not simply because the Chinese are playing unfair, its because they produce products at lower prices, of higher quality, and there’s not many ways in which the world can replace that capacity.”

Despite the outlook in the next couple of years, Dr. Basu says the U.S. still reached 95 consecutive months of job growth.

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