Richard Wobbekind and Brian Lewandowski offer glimpses of what to expect in Colorado’s economy heading into 2023. Today’s episode takes listeners on a deep dive into employment rates, inflation, the pandemic’s lasting economic impacts, and more.
Richard Wobbekind is the Associate Dean of Finance and the Business Research Division at Leeds. Brian Lewandowski is Executive Director of the Business Research Division. Together, they formulate the University of Colorado’s Business Economic Outlook report.
On what we’re seeing in the current economy…
[00:05:34] Brian: “Nationally and locally, we've seen the highest rate of inflation that we've seen in the last 40 years in this country. So, it's concerning on many fronts. But I think one of the most concerning underlying components of the inflation rate is that it's very broad-based. It's not really driven by just one or two components within our economy.”
On what to expect in 2023…
[00:14:16] Brian: “If we take a look at … the JOLTS number, the job openings number, that's signaling that there's still extremely strong demand for workers. So, it appears that the employment market isn't as much at risk as it has been in the past when we've been in situations like this, where, where we're perhaps on the cusp of a recession. We usually see slowing job growth, lower demand for workers at this point.”
[00:21:01] Richard: “We're anticipating a slower environment, but not particularly a negative environment—a GDP recession at the national level that just slows growth down for the year overall, and then a bounce back a little bit further on out. And again, a lot of this is being triggered by the Fed's attempts to control inflation with these higher interest rates. And we're not suggesting they're not needed. You really don't want inflation to become permanent in the system. And you don't want expectations to get entrenched around inflation. So, the Fed policy has a lot of logic to it, but it does ultimately create some pain.”
Advice for businesses entering a period of slower growth…
[00:26:42] Richard: “When you're in a very high-growth environment… you're more concerned with making sure the order gets out the door or it gets fulfilled. And you really don't want to miss the opportunity to make the sale. But when you get in a slower growth environment, you start to think about: Are we doing this in the best way? Do I have the best worker to do this? And you think more about, do I have the right skill sets with my employees? It's an opportunity to assess, to take a breath and to assess.”
Richard Wobbekind Profile at Leeds School of Business
Brian Lewandowski Profile at Leeds School of Business
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