Inside USD

Mid-Year Economic Update Offers Little Good News — For Now

Thursday, June 11, 2009

economy-photoHow does the state of the economy feel to the average businessperson? Ryan Ratcliff, an assistant professor of economics at the University of San Diego, shared one vision following his presentation at the inaugural Mid-Year Economic Update on Thursday at the Hahn University Center.

“I think, just as there is a business cycle, there is also a sentiment cycle about the economy,” he said. “As the recession gets started, there’s a reluctance to believe that the boom is coming to an end. You think, ‘I’m starting to see some worrying signs, but I think we can power through it.’ Then, when you are disabused of that notion, it tends to turn to soul crushing and that the economy is never going to be good, it’s going to last forever. I think we’ve moved into that phase.”

Ratcliff, San Diego Association of Governments’ chief economist Marney Cox and Kelly Cunningham, an economist and senior fellow for National University’s System Institute for Policy Research, spoke on the current local, state and national economic picture and also did some forecasting of where they’re headed.

“What I tried to do in my presentation was strike a balance between we see some indications of the light at the end of the tunnel, that there are some parts of the economy showing signs of life, but that there’s still a long way to go here,” Ratcliff said. “This, too, shall pass … but not tomorrow.”

Thursday’s event was put together by USD’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate and the San Diego Association of Realtors. It attracted 200 businesspeople from all over Southern California.

“It’s important to gather and to figure out what’s going on,” said Mark Riedy, the Burnham-Moores Center executive director.

Ratcliff focused his attention on the national and California economy while Cox and Cunningham both examined the San Diego economic outlook. To view their respective presentations, go to

Patrick Wakeman, who earned a business administration and accounting degree at USD in 1986, is a founder and principal for Los Angeles and San Diego-based CALCAP Advisors. Wakeman, who works in San Diego, enjoyed his return to campus, but his desire was all business.

“When you’re in business, you tend to talk to the same half a dozen or dozen people and you start hearing the same opinions and forecasts, over and over,” Wakeman said. “It’s nice to hear three fresh voices. They have different perspectives, come from different backgrounds and different positions. You can take the information here and convey it to investors, lenders that you talk to and become a little more of an expert.”

— Ryan T. Blystone

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