Chamber looks to the economic forecast ahead at annual breakfast

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Neal Johnson (left), principal at Sound Resource Economics, will present the Pierce County Economic Index and highlight the key components that drive the local economy. The program will round out with a national perspective delivered by Bruce McCain (right), the chief investment strategist for Key Private Bank. Photos courtesy of Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce welcomes members and non-members alike to attend the 2018 Horizons Economic Forecast from 7-9 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center where they’re guaranteed to learn a little of what to expect in the coming year, both locally and nationally, and walk away with the tools to better prepare their respective businesses.

Tom Pierson, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer, said industry professionals and business owners have much to be optimistic about.

“From a local standpoint, what we know is that we’re growing and we have a population that is one of the top in the nation,” Pierson said. “That is driving our housing prices and construction, whether it’s single-family or multi-family. We have cranes in downtown Tacoma, and that is something we have not had in several years. The fact that we have built density in Tacoma and beyond are all positive factors. What we’re looking for is growing our wages and diversifying our economy.”

Attendees are invited to arrive early at 7 a.m. where they can enjoy coffee and socializing with their peers. The chamber bills the program as Tacoma’s most anticipated economic event of the year. Jennifer Chernut, member programs coordinator, said there is a significant emphasis on providing a forum that makes connecting and touching base possible.

Brian Marlow, of Key Bank, will be the master of ceremonies. Pierson will make opening remarks. Congressmen Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer are also expected to make brief remarks. The program will be broadcasted on PCTV and rebroadcasted throughout the year.

The economic forecast portion, along with breakfast, will go from 7:30-9 a.m. Neal Johnson, principal at Sound Resource Economics, will present the Pierce County Economic Index and highlight the key components that drive the local economy, including military spending projections, container and bulk goods at the Port of Tacoma, the retail sector, and the housing sector. Johnson will deliver his findings via an interview-style format moderated by Tom Layson, host and producer of KBTC’s Northwest Now.

The program will round out with a national perspective delivered by Bruce McCain, the chief investment strategist for Key Private Bank.

“This is his second time here,” Pierson said. “What you will see from Bruce is ‘Washington, D.C. matters.’”

Pierson said that it’s likely McCain will touch upon the implications of President Trump’s newly passed federal tax reform; an anticipated federal infrastructure budget passed by Congress; implications of the upcoming mid-term elections; the speculation of who will become the new chair of the Federal Reserve; and, no doubt, the global economy and its impacts on trade.

Looking forward, Pierson said everything is positive.

“In 2017, we had a lot of polarization,” he said. “To me, it’s about bringing people together. It’s about taking steps together toward a place that we all want to be. We all care about the social equity issues, the environment and jobs, and all those have to be tied together.”

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