February 20, 2015, by Steven Romero, Development Officer, via email
The College of Business along with Wells Fargo hosted the 4th Annual Economic Outlook Conference on Thursday February 20, 2015, at the Las Cruces Convention Center. With an audience of close to 300 people, NMSU’s resident economic expert, Jim Peach (Regents Professor of Economics and International Business) and Eugenio Alemán (a senior economist with Wells Fargo), gave their outlook on the regional and national economies for the coming year.
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Published on Feb 20, 2015
Economists gave their 2015 forecasts for the US and New Mexico at a local conference.
Eugenio Alemán is a Senior Economist at Wells Fargo. He says that the national economy is doing very well.
“The economy is doing overall very well,” Alemán said. “I mean last year was the best year for job creation since 1999. We have created more than 10 million jobs since the end of the great recession. It has been the longest period in the history of the US of job creation, consecutively. So, it’s a good place to be.”
Jim Peach, an Economics Professor at New Mexico State University says that New Mexico is still slowly recovering from the recession. He says that the drop in oil prices could hurt the New Mexico Economy because oil and gas accounts for about 20-30% of the state budget.
“We’re in for a tough time on the state expenditures,” Peach said. “And how does that matter, well it matters right here in Las Cruces. University employment, school district employment, our biggest employers are public sector employers.”
Although falling oil prices may not be good for New Mexico, Alemán says that they are good for the US economy overall.
“From the producer side it is bad, but from the consumer side it’s very good,” Alemán said. “We know that the US economy, and the rest of the world economy needs more demand. So, our expectation is that this drop in oil prices is going to get some more demand into the system.”
Peach says that in order for the state to fully recover they need to be less reliant on public sector jobs, by growing jobs from within the state and bringing companies in.
“One of the things that we need to do in New Mexico is to make the state more attractive for firms,” Peach said. “And what firms look for are a well trained and highly educated workforce. They look for broadband access; we are the least wired state in the nation. We need to invest heavily in broadband. We have tremendous potential in the tourist industry, but we need to spend money on our state parks, and our road side rest areas, and all kinds of other things.”
Some issues the US economy is still dealing with are long-term unemployment, international risks such as ISIS, and the possibility of rising interest rates.