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Economics Conference to Open Thursday

PULLMAN, Wash. — A variety of public policy issues are expected to draw more than 200 economists and policy analysts to the 31st Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference April 24-26 in the Red Lion Hotel in the Spokane City Center.

“Sessions will report the most recent and authoritative national and regional economic forecasts, and address the changing economic base of Northwest states, urban growth management, migration to the Northwest and the impact of information-age technologies on rural areas,” said Gary Smith, a Washington State University agricultural economist and conference chair.

The conference opens at 10 a.m. Thursday and ends at noon Saturday.

Featured speakers include:

  • Jack Ward Thomas, former U.S. Forest Service chief, who will speak on “Stability in Resource Dependent Communities: Mission Impossible.”
  • Jerry L. Jordan, president and chief executive officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Jordan’s talk is “Governments’ Role in Job Creation.”
  • Calvin L. Beale, senior demographer, U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. His topic is “Forces Underlying the Recent Rebound of Rural Areas and Small Towns.”
  • Robert E. Brinner, executive director and chief economist, DRI/McGraw-Hill, Lexington, Mass. Brinner’s topic is “‘Irrational Exuberance’ and the U.S. Business Cycle.”

The conference opens with a session on “Electricity Deregulation: Peril or Promise?” Three speakers with alternative views will be featured. They are Paul Redmond, chair and chief executive officer of Washington Water Power; John Etchart, chair, Northwest Power Planning Council and Nancy Hirsch, policy director, Northwest Conservation Act Coalition.

Sponsors include the Northwest Power Planning Council, Washington Water Power, the Washington State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics, and Horizon Air.

The conference is open to the public. Registration costs $180. Single-day registration costs $70 for Thursday and Friday and $30 for Saturday.

Contact Ann Brelsford (509) 335-2921 for registration information or Gary Smith (509) 335-2852 for program information.

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