Explaining Southern California's economy

CSU Fullerton midyear economic forecast predicts 'growth in the shade'


Matthew DeBord/KPCC

CSU Fullerton economics professor Mira Farka presents the midyear forecast. It's halftime in America, people!

Anil Puri and Mira Farka of Cal State Fullerton presented their midyear outlook and forecast in Irvine today. This is a follow-up to the major forecast they presented last October. What's the bottom line? Cautious optimism, in the wake of an economic catastrophe for California:

Despite encouraging developments, we expect the recovery to proceed at a moderate pace — a notch below the U.S. long-run potential growth and well below the historical rates of previous post-war recoveries. Our "no boom, but less gloom" outlook is shaped by our belief that while the U.S. is finally experiencing a real cyclical recovery, structural challenges and external shocks will nonetheless restrain the strength and the pace of the expansion.

This pretty well reflects the economic consensus right now (and continues a theme for Puri and Farka, who last year asked "Where's my boom?"). It's not "exciting," as Puri put it, but it is realistic. You could call it excessively conservative — Will we really only average GDP in the 2-2.5 percent band nationally, as institutions such as the Federal Reserve and the International Monetary Fund have argued? — or just sensible. There are what economists call "headwinds" out there, from the "mild recession" in Europe (according to the CSU forecast) to a volatile global oil market.