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Panel Meeting in Raleigh Discusses Economy, Interest Rates

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RALEIGH — The U.S. economy has boomed over the past several years. But will this economic prosperity last? In North Raleigh, a distinguished panel of economists is meeting to discuss these issues.

They are generally optimistic for the short term and even the long term, to some extent. They believe that the country is not going to experience a dramatic slow-down like some foreign countries have gone through.

More than 300 people packed a conference room at the North Raleigh Hilton to hear the five men speak. They are regarded as some of the most accurate and widely-quoted financial experts in the country when it comes to pocketbook issues.

The group generally believes that the economy as a whole will continue to move along at a slower pacer for the next few years until a mild recession occurs in about two years.

That's pretty good news for our stocks and funds. As far as interest rates go, the panel was split on what the Fed may do this afternoon.

"It will not surprise me either way," said UNC economist Jim Smith. "It's a close call, but all of us agree that there will be more cuts over the next year regardless of what they do today."

The Fed is expected to make some kind of announcement today on whether it is going to lower or leave interest rates the same. Right now the short-term interest rates are about five percent.

The panelists also talked about the North Carolina economy. Right now, they say the prospects for some of the state's traditional industries, such as tobacco and textiles, may be in decline.

Some of the non-traditional industries -- banking and technology -- are doing well.


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