'Are We in An Economic Recovery?' Topic of Barton Smith Symposium

During his biannual economic forecast, Barton Smith, University of Houston economics professor and director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting (IRF), will address many of  the questions on people's minds today - namely, "Is the national economy really in recovery, will it last and how strong might it be next year?"

In his presentation, Smith will discuss the likely near-term future of the global, national and local economies and the contingencies upon which their recoveries will depend. Smith's presentation, "Countdown to Recovery: What's Been Accomplished; What's Left To Do," will be held Thursday, Nov. 5 in the Imperial Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Houston Hotel, 1200 Louisiana St., in downtown Houston.

Arrangements for media representatives to both attend the symposium luncheon and interview Smith have been made. Smith will be available for one-on-one interviews with individual members of the media and print reporters from 10:30-11:40 a.m. prior to the presentation and at 1:30 p.m. after the symposium. Contact Richard Bonnin at 713-743-8155 or rbonnin@uh.edu for more information.

In this symposium, Smith will present the newest economic statistics on the Houston economy, examining whether the sudden collapse in the local economy this spring has slowed and whether the stage has been set for a recovery next year. Breaking tradition from the usual November symposium, he will also provide new data on local real estate markets rather than wait until the spring real estate symposium.

A major message of this fall's symposium, however, will be the importance of stabilizing the labor market before any substantive recovery can be proclaimed. Data will be presented to assess what progress has been made at both the national and local levels. In particular, Smith will reference the key statistics that all Americans should really focus on as evidence of a true recovery and what false signals we all ought to ignore. As in times past, the presentation also will include commentary on current and future public policy choices that could significantly affect the viability of any recovery. Smith will explain why he rejects many of the fears expressed by the public and the media, but will indicate that he believes that we are by no means out of the "recessionary woods." As expressed last spring, this year's presentation will re-emphasize that whatever recovery we do get will be bumpy and extended. Perhaps equally interesting to local residents, this symposium will also try to correct myths about Houston and clarify what makes the Houston economy similar to the nation's and how it differs.  The audience will be particularly surprised at many of the statistics provided regarding local home values.

Smith has conducted numerous studies on urban issues, housing, transportation and the environment. During the past 20 years, he has gained national recognition for his analyses of the Houston economy and real estate markets. Smith wrote "Handbook on the Houston Economy" and continues to present and publish two symposium reports a year on Houston's economy and real estate markets. For more information, go to http://www.uh.edu/irf/index.htm.


WHO: Barton Smith, UH professor of economics and director of the UH Institute for Regional Forecasting
WHAT: "Countdown to Recovery: What's Been Accomplished; What's Left to Do"
WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009
Media availability: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 - 2 p.m.
Luncheon: 11:30 a.m. - 12:10 p.m., Imperial Ballroom

WHERE: Imperial Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Houston Hotel, 1200 Louisiana St., Houston