MIFFLINBURG – The Valley’s economy is improving, so said an economic forecasting expert, guest of a regional chamber of commerce.
Seeing where the Valley’s economy and our national economy stand, Dr. Anirban Basu provided an update during his presentation at the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce Economic Forecast Luncheon Thursday.
Dr. Basu says our local economy has gotten better, driven by consumer spending growth and structural shifts, such as the distribution activity in the region.
But Dr. Basu says many of our local businesses continue to embrace a ‘wait and see’ attitude based on the national economy. He says businesses are not making a lot of capital investments, and that holds back more robust local growth.
“One of the reasons for that is there’ still waiting on Washington D.C. to sort itself out, in terms of what the tax regime is going to look like, if there’s going to be an infrastructure package, what does deregulation look like.”
Dr. Basu says a big issue is employers seeing shortages of experienced workers. He says a solution is to step up training and apprenticeship programs.
Dr. Basu says he does worry about 2019 and beyond:
“This region has a tendency to lag the nation from a temporal perspective, meaning when there are indications of economic weakness, we’ll often see that in the major metropolitan areas first before it gets to central Pennsylvania. But there are big question marks around 2019 and 2020. They may turn out to be fine, but that’s hard to determine.”
Dr. Basu does say however, it’s still a little too early to put an exact forecast on the local and national economy. The meeting was held at start-up local brewery, the Rusty Rail in Mifflinburg. (Matt Catrillo)