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  • Midwest Economic Outlook Summit - Signature Event Recap

  • Midwest Economic Outlook Summit - Signature Event Recap

    Midwest Economic Outlook Summit - Signature Event Recap

    In February, the Delta by Marriott in Fargo was packed full of Chamber and community members to hear from national keynote speakers and panels of regional experts as we discussed the future of our economy. Douglas Duncan of Fannie Mae and Ron Feldman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis pulled the curtain back and gave attendees an in-depth look at the current state of various facets of our economy, as well as their predictions for 2023. The summit was livestreamed to 25 communities across 5 states via our co-hosting chambers of commerce.

    Ron Feldman made it clear during his presentation that the Fed will not stop directly addressing inflation until it is under control. The goal of the Fed is to get inflation down to 2% and with full employment, all while avoiding a spiral of wage and economic inflation. Feldman said, “This is a really, really complicated, challenging time. There is no algorithm here. We’re going to look at the data and see if it’s consistent with getting inflation down to 2% and full employment.”

    Douglas Duncan of Fannie Mae also predicted that the Fed would bump the federal funds rate a few more times by roughly 25 basis points each time. Duncan also expects a mild recession in 2023 with a comeback in 2024, with the dominant theme being Americans “awaiting improvements in affordability,” especially as it relates to the housing market and manufactured goods. Duncan further predicted that unemployment would rise throughout 2023, averaging around 5.4% in Q4 2023.

    Our panelists spent a great deal of time demonstrating to attendees how their industries and businesses have been affected by the economic climate, and how they have shifted and responded to these challenges out of necessity. Most of our panelists labeled workforce/ labor attraction as a main concern. Whether due to housing supply shortages, childcare shortages, or lasting symptoms of the pandemic – such as nurses leaving healthcare due to high pressure and burnout – these businesses are finding themselves leading the way to find creative solutions to these issues.

    Although it may appear that we still have a hill to climb as a region and nation, there is no denying that our business and community leaders in the Upper Midwest are willing to do whatever it takes to innovate, foster a vibrant economy and workforce, and ultimately succeed as a region. Thank you to our Premier Sponsors Bremer Bank and Cass County Electric Cooperative for making these critical discussions possible. The Midwest Summit series is continuing to gain momentum and is now co-hosted by chambers of commerce across five states.

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