Economist: Valley economy solid despite farming, trade concerns

MIFFLINBURG – The Valley’s economy stands out among rural and small-town America, but some concerns for Valley farmers as US-China trade tensions escalate…those were some observations shared by Dr. Anirban Basu, President/CEO of Sage Policy Group in Baltimore. He gave his seventh annual economic forecast presentation to the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

Dr. Basu says he gives the Valley a ‘B or B-minus,’ this also despite the recent massive Wood-Mode layoffs, “The economy of the Susquehanna Valley has been particularly quite good. Unemployment is low. We’ve seen a lot of spending in infrastructure, especially with the (CSVT) Thruway of course. We see ongoing investment in what I would call it as entrepreneurial agriculture.”

But Dr. Basu says Valley farmers should be concerned by rising US-China trade tensions, especially when it comes to certain crops, such as soybeans, “When the Chinese stop buying soybeans in large numbers, the soybeans sort of get trapped in our market, and the result of that is the soybean prices fall, and that’s generally not good for farm income. One of the ways the administration is trying to support farm incomes is simply by stroking checks to farmers, but that’s not the way we want capitalism to work.”

In addition, Dr. Basu says a recession will happen, but he expects to be quite mild, “Banks have been more cautious in lending, investors have been more cautious in investing. Banks right now are in really, quite good shape. There’s a lot of capital in American banks, and I just don’t think the market excess has been nearly as profound during this cycle as they were in the previous cycle.”

Dr. Basu also gave credit to the last two administrations for the current shape of the economy in the Valley and the US.


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