On Wednesday I saw Arun Raha, Executive Director and chief economist for the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, speak to the University of Washington Economics Department’s Visiting Committee. The slides from the talk available in both color (best for viewing on line) and black and white (best for printing) on the ERFC website. Arun was entertaining and stimulating, as always, and not that dismal.
In his view the recession economic production has ended, although Washington state employment will not hit bottom until the end of the year. This is actually better than the case for the nation as a whole, where the upturn in employment is not expected until the 2nd quarter of 2010. The outlook for state revenue is not as good as that for the overall economy, however, as consumer spending and construction activity are expected to remain weak for several years.
To my mind, slide 24 stood out. As this slide documents much of the world (Asia in particular) is now experiencing strong economic growth. Because Washington is the most trade dependent U.S. state, it should benefit more than most states from this “unprecedented global recovery.”