PITTSBURG — Roughly 75 people attended an economic outlook conference earlier this week at Memorial Auditorium.
Attendees heard about the local, state and national economy from different speakers. Blake Benson, Pittsburg’s economic development director, said the fifth annual event had the biggest turnout yet and the forum is coordinated by officials from Wichita State University and Pittsburg State University.
PSU Associate Professor Michael Davidsson spoke about the local economy. He predicts the local economy will continue to grow, but is hindered by a lack of adequate housing. The city loses out on property and sales tax because over half of the people employed in Pittsburg live outside of the city.
The state picture is more bleak. Benson said Jeremy Hill, director of WSU’s center for economic development and business research, discussed the possibility of the state heading into a recession thanks to low commodity and oil prices. Hill also attributed a weakening construction industry to the state cutting highway funding, Benson said.
Jason Brown, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, predicted the national economy would continue growing at a slow rate, Benson said. The Pittsburg economic development director said Brown was unsure of the next president’s impact on the economy.
The entire meeting took roughly two and half hours.
“It’s a lot of data,” Benson said. “But it’s all so important.”
Benson said knowing the direction of the state and national economy helps officials plan locally.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.