Fed Reserve Joins Local Leaders at #MACoCon to Talk All Things Economy

At the 2022 MACo Summer Conference General Session, “Riding the Wave: Maryland’s Economic Forecast in Stormy Seas,” attendees heard from Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President and CEO Tom Barkin and Towson University Vice President Daraius Irani.

At the 2022 MACo Summer Conference, leading economists reviewed the trends and expectations for Maryland’s near-term economic development, including expectations for government revenue, national influence, and best practices for local governments to build resiliency and a strong future.

Panel speakers included:

  • Darius Irani, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Applied Research, Towson University
  • Tom Barkin, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

Moderator:

  • The Honorable State Treasurer Dereck Davis

During opening remarks, State Treasurer Dereck Davis said:

“I don’t want us to get to comfortable that we’re ok because we still don’t know where it’s going to go and we have to continue to be vigilant on how we spend the money. What we don’t want to do is unnecessarily raise taxes or cut programs.”

Tom Barkin, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Virginia, contextualized last decade before the COVID-19 pandemic as “the most stable one that we’ve seen in any of our memories.” “Of course, COVID changed all that,” he said.

He then compared the post-pandemic economy to the post-war eras of World Wars I and II and the post-Vietnam era, in that, like war, the pandemic completely flipped the global economy upside down:

“Look at the aftermath of the war on COVID. Six trillion dollars of fiscal stimulus hit the economy. Workers stayed home with participation still well below pre pandemic levels. Many died. Businesses struggle to meet demand as supply chains fell vulnerable to the virus. Consumer spending shifted in a lockdown world.”

Towson University’s Daraius Irani agreed with Barkin’s comparison and called the current Maryland economy a “Jumanji Economy,” in which we’re “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

Both agreed, however, that despite ongoing economic challenges, we are seeing signs of improvement locally and nationally, including recent encouraging jobs reports and slowing inflation.

The session was held on August 19, 2022, at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.

More about MACo’s Summer Conference:

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