Economist gives optimistic outlook for first time

  • Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:39 a.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 10:54 a.m.

SALISBURY — An economist with Wells Fargo Securities said delivering his 2014 economic outlook to the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce today was a new experience.

Not because he had never spoken in public before.

“This is my first time giving a presentation when I feel optimistic about the U.S. economy,” said Michael Wolf, 30. “So this is a little weird.”

The economy is moving in the right direction, Wolf said. He predicted 2.8 percent growth in the national economy for 2014, less than the desired 3 percent to 3.5 percent but more than the 2 percent growth the country saw in 2013.

With apologies to elected officials in the audience, Wolf said government is the biggest drag on the economy and will not turn around until the end of 2015.

While state and national unemployment rates have decreased significantly, the change is due in part to people dropping out of the workforce, Wolf said. There are fewer people employed now than in 2007 in both the U.S. and North Carolina, he said.

Wolf, who works in Charlotte, predicted the housing industry will continue to recover, with both home prices and mortgage interest rates rising at a slow pace.

More than 100 people attended the chamber’s monthly breakfast, held at Trinity Oaks.

Read more in Friday’s Post.

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