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2018 Economic Outlook Forum Highlights

February 20th, 2018 by Amanda Huggett

At the 2018 Economic Outlook Forum, we were joined by national economist Stephen Moore, who shared a keynote address on national economic trends and his bullish opinions on where we are as a nation.

He also shared much praise for North Dakota. “I believe you are one of the most prosperous and fastest-growing economies in the country, and I think that is going to continue for the next several years at least,” he said. “I am filled with good news today. I’m about the most bullish economist out there.”

Moore discussed his relationship with Donald Trump, including the tax plan and setting the economic agenda, and how it currently compares to some of the trends seen in previous administrations. He also included the importance of growth and how it can solve just about every problem out there. Putting Americans back to work and growing the economy has to be top priority.

Moore credits North Dakota’s contributions to the shale, oil and gas revolution as the single most important thing that happened in America in the last decade, as well as a key player in how we got out of our most recent recession in the first place.

Speaking to taxes, he noted a trend in residents from typically blue states migrating to red states, due in large part to the appealing tax climate and right to work states. He also praised Trump’s deregulation and noted its positive impact on economy. In fact, for every new regulation passed, Moore says he has repealed 22 regulations during his first year in office.

One more takeaway he included as a story from the Trump campaign was to not always trust the experts–in this case, political forecasters and pundits. “One of the lessons I learned has repercussions for all areas of life. That conclusion was that sometimes — and more often than you think — the experts are wrong.”

Moore’s prediction for 2018 is 3% to 4% growth, and the same for 2019, due to the tax cuts and deregulation from the Trump administration.

Prompted by one audience question about rising prices and supply and demand, Moore gave this thought: “I think we’re in a productivity revolution in this country because of robotics, automated cars, 3-D imaging, all this stuff is exploding. This is the single most exciting time to be on this planet.”

Starion Bank’s Fargo Market President Scott Green also presented on the results of this year’s economic survey from Chamber members.

Of the respondents, most represented the service industry and were small businesses. Half reported experiencing employment issues. Of those, over half said they saw a lack of applicants or unqualified applicants.

The top five business challenges reported were competitive factors, employment issues, growing sales, economic uncertainty, and customer retention. Green noted a pressure being placed on workforce and signs of inflation.

Almost 70% said their business either met or exceeded expectations in the past year. Green called this “outstanding” especially considering the ag and energy sectors have been suffering for the past five years. He also pointed out a more positive outlook for the future locally as compared to the national outlook.


Thanks to this event’s presenting sponsor, Cass County Electric, as well as Starion Bank and MSUM for conducting the economic outlook survey, and AM 100 The Flag for serving as emcees.

Check out this recap from The Forum: Economist gives Fargo audience glimpse into Trump’s world

Check out some of these Tweets from attendees!


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