Tough Times Ahead Says Houston Economics Professor
Meteorologists say the forecast for Houston this week is hot and dry.The long term economic forecast isn’t much different. The University of Houston’s noted economics professor Dr. Barton Smith gave his bi-annual address today. Smith says Houstonians should prepare for rough times.
Last year Houston residents had to prepare for several tropical storms. One of them turned out to be a deadly hurricane. Dr. Barton Smith says Houstonians must now prepare for an economic storm. The casualties won’t be loss of life, but loss of jobs – up to sixty thousand.
“Because of the unusual character of 2008, I think some Houstonians begin to think that we’re going to get through this storm unscathed. We’re going to lose jobs in Houston this year. A fairly substantial amount of jobs and I think Houstonians need to be prepared for that,” he says.
Smith expects those jobs to go away over a two year period. He says this will be something the younger generation has never seen before. Steve Pali, owner of Palico, a commercial real estate company says the economic downturn has already affected his business.
“People can’t get money. I had two or three fairly large deals that were supposed to close before the end of the year, and they just couldn’t get their financing,” Pali says.
Another thing Smith wanted to address in his talk was “crazy,” untrue stories put out by the media to scare people. Like how the fed has to print money so fast because the money supply is depleting quick.
Whether it’s the economy or the recent swine flue, some have accused both the media and public officials of blowing things out of proportion. Smith says in both cases there are similarities in how we go about preparing.
“Do we need to put our economic masks on? I don’t know if we need to put our masks on, but we need to put on an air of caution however, and just not go into this blindly thinking we can build another five or six million square feet of office space, or twenty thousand more units of apartment complexes. We need to go into the next two years with our eyes wide open.”