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Hot Issues to Draw Economists to Spokane Conference

PULLMAN, Wash. — A variety of hot issues will draw 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.

“Conference speakers will address many of the hot issues confronting our region,” said Gary Smith, a Washington State University agricultural economist and conference chair.

“These include the most recent and authoritative national and regional forecasts, the changing economic base of Northwest states, urban growth management, migration to the Northwest and the impact of information-age technologies on rural areas,” Smith said.

More than 150 of the Northwest’s leading business and government economists, policy analysts and academic colleagues are expected to participate.

Principal 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 College of Agriculture and Home Economics, and Horizon Air.

The conference is open to the public. Registration costs $150 through April 4 or $180 after that date.

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

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