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March 8, 2013

Duncan’s future looks bright amidst economic woes

(Continued)

DUNCAN —

While the economic climate of Stephens County and Oklahoma remains positive, Snead said there are external risk factors that could pose problems to the area in the future.
“There is a clear slowing in the energy and maufacturing sectors,” Snead said. “There is no doubt about it. It is clearly slowing. It is a concern; it is an external force. There is nothing you can do about it.”
“Residential real estate remains a problem. It is not an Oklahoma problem; it is a national problem,” he said. “Europe may implode yet. They cannot quite figure out how to get along. A federal goverment impasse seems more and more likely.”
Snead said deleveraging could also serve to slow growth in the area and United States in the long run.
Despite what Snead called headwinds in the next few years, he does expect the country to come out of these troubles and grow at a small rate.
“After about two percent growth the past few years, we actually believe there is a strong possibility for 2.5 percent growth this year,” Snead said. “Enough of the impediments have been removed. It is literally impossible for the U.S. economy to grow at 3.5 or 4 percent.”
By the end of 2013, Snead said there is room for optimisim for a 3 percent growth rate.
It is basically a slightly slower version of this year, which was a very good year and was a slightly slower version of 2011, which was an outstanding year. In fact, in 2010-11 it was one of the fastest growing markets in the state.
Snead predicted that unemployment will continue to hover at about 4 percent with most jobs coming from the private sector while the governement sector will continue to experience hardships. He believes construction will experience modest job growth and there will be retail sales growth in the area.
If you think we cannot get through this, I would argue differently,” he said. “It is just a lot of big problems that have taken a lot of adjustment.”
Snead is the owner of Region Track, an Oklahoma City company that focuses on regional economic forecasting and analysis. Snead also worked at the Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business and the Federal Reserve in Denver.

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