March 19, 2019  

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USM Economic Outlook 2017 Forum Attracts Large Turnout

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Stan Harrell, Vice President, CFO and CIO, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, addresses attendees of the Economic Outlook 2017 Forum. (Photo by Kelly Dunn)

More than 225 business leaders, students, and community members gathered on The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus recently for the annual Economic Outlook 2017 Forum hosted by the University’s College of Business.

Held Feb. 2 at the Thad Cochran Center, the forum brought together experts from banking, finance, and academia to explore a number of issues and research related to the economic outlook for 2017.

Participants gleaned significant insight from Stan Harrell, Vice President, CFO and CIO, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who shared a national view of the economy based upon gross domestic product numbers, unemployment rates and housing market trends over the last 15-20 years. As part of the world’s largest lobbying group for U.S. business, Harrell painted a picture of optimism for the current year.

Chad Newell, President of the Area Development Partnership, also addressed the attendees, providing a glimpse of how the Pine Belt compares to the State of Mississippi, and to the federal average on many of the same points made by Harrell. Since the economic recession of 2008, the Greater Hattiesburg area has seen a steady increase in employment, housing sales and other key indicators of the future.

“We are grateful for the support of The First in continuing to bring the Economic Outlook Forum to the Pine Belt,” said Dr. Faye Gilbert, Dean of the USM College of Business. “Stan Harrell and Chad Newell provided us with key indicators that point to a potentially good year for business and growth in the Hattiesburg area. It is wonderful to gather as a business community to learn together.”

The University hosted a similar forum on Jan. 12 at the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

The First  - A National Banking Association served as the forum’s title sponsor. The Trent Lott Center for National Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, along with the Business Student Advisory Council, provided a foundation of knowledge based upon facts from which to conclude possible scenarios for the future.

To learn more about the College of Business, call 601.266.4659 or visit: