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Area's economic future to be discussed at WVU conference

The Morgantown Economic Outlook Conference, Wednesday, March 17, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Waterfront Place Hotel, will examine the area’s economic performance and outlook and the future of the global economic crisis.

Morgantown has continued to grow during the past year, in contrast to huge job losses for the state and nation, but the pace of local job growth has dropped significantly. Presentations at the conference will consider the economic outlook for 2010 and beyond and contrast local prospects with forecasts for the state and nation.

The conference, presented by the WVU College of Business and Economics, will closely examine the national economic slowdown and what it means for job, population and income levels in the Morgantown metropolitan area, which includes Monongalia and Preston counties.

Dr. James P. Clements, WVU president, will provide the opening remarks. The conference will feature economists Dr. George Hammond of the University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Dr. Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight, an international economic forecasting firm. Economic forecasts and analysis of the Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area for the next five years will be distributed at the event.

Other speakers at the conference include Charles W. Huguenard (vice president and general manager, Longview Power), Corky DeMarco (executive director, West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association) and Parry Petroplus (president, Petroplus and Associates, Inc.). Registration costs $40 per person ($55 after March 12). Student registration is $20 with ID. To register visit www.be.wvu.edu or call 304-293-7831.

Before joining IHS Global Insight in 2003, Gault worked for six years as a senior global economist at Decision Economics Inc., providing international clients in financial markets with analysis of the major industrial economies. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University in England.

Hammond is associate director at the BBER. During the past 15 years, he has produced numerous forecasts and analyses of the state economy as well as many of the state’s regional economies. He is an associate professor in the College of Business and Economics and teaches in the Executive MBA program. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in business economics from Indiana University.

The conference is supported by, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, BIZ Magazine, The Dominion Post, WBOY-TV, The Chambers Endowed Program for Electronic Business, Morgantown Area Economic Partnership, The State Journal and the West Virginia Department of Revenue.