Economic forecast for Philadelphia: optimism with a chance of clouds

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce held its annual economic forecast. The mood was best described as cautiously optimistic, with an emphasis on cautious. Paul Ridder, president of Tasty Baking Company, who has a long career in banking and business, told local leaders he has serious concerns about today’s economy.”We see the consumer today as being much more cautious today than the business leaders in this room,” said Ridder.  “We’re seeing the consumers being very confused. They see volatility in the stock market.  They see food prices going up. They see banking problems in Europe and they don’t know what to make of it.”Speakers said uncertainty on the federal level — from taxes, to regulations, to the election — also makes it difficult for businesses to plan and invest. Others talked about how many years it will take to create enough jobs to put back to work the 8 million Americans laid off since 2008.

“We’ve got a big job ahead of us. If we want to fix the unemployment problem we’re going to have to grow 125,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth, so all these kids that i’m teaching today are going to be graduating and looking for a job,” said Bill Dunkelberg, an economist from Temple University.Getting 8 million people laid off during the recession back to work will take a lot more growth.

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