By: Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal
For the last several years economics watchers have been like Cubs fans, said Portland economist John Mitchell.
Wait until next year and next year will be the winning year.
Mitchell, a consultant with M&H Economic Consultants and former chief economist for US Bank, gave his overview of the economy and his expectations for 2014 to an intimate group of Technology Association of Oregon members Wednesday morning.
“The bottom line is it’s growing, but it’s growing slowly,” he said of the economy coming out of the Great Recession.
Because the recovery has been slow and steady instead of the faster pace of previous recoveries people have seen much of the same over the last three years.
However, Mitchell thinks that could be changing for 2014.
Unlike previous years there are a number of pieces falling into place that lead Mitchell to be more optimistic:
- Less federal fiscal restraint. According to Mitchell we are living in uncharted territory with federal discretionary spending declining for the first time. He is looking at the cuts from the first portion of sequestration that hit this year cutting everything from medical research to defense to education. But, with news of a federal budget deal that restraint might be loosened in 2014.
- Better balance sheets. Companies are stronger now and have the capital to invest.
- Falling energy prices.
- State and local governments are more healthy than in years past.
- Housing is coming back. As of October of this year residential building permits were at 12,773 which is higher than all of last year, when permits hit 10,608, and well above 2010’s low of 6,868.
- Improvements globally with Europe and China.