Economist forecasts end of recession, but warns of challenges ahead

NORWICH – “It’s not over yet,” said Dr. Kent Gardner, president and chief economist for the Center for Governmental Research, as he addressed a roomful of local businesses and community leaders Wednesday during Commerce Chenango’s Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast.

Gardner, who serves on the governor’s Council of Economic Advisors, was the keynote speaker at the event, held at Howard Johnson’s in Norwich.

The noted economist was introduced by NBT Bank President and CEO Martin Dietrich, whose organization sponsored the event in conjunction with The Evening Sun and Norwich-Sidney Pennysaver.

According to Gardner, the United States has begun to recover from what economists are calling the “Great Recession.” But we’re not out of the woods yet. Using charts, graphs and even a bit of humor and song, the economist was able to boil down a number of indicators to support this stance.

He began by illustrating how the recession had spread throughout the country by using a series of maps tracking how unemployment rose from pre-recession levels through the economic crisis.

“By the end of 2009, this recession had spread to the entire economy, with the exception of some areas in the midwest,” Gardner said, as those in attendance watched the maps color change as unemployment rose over 10 percent.

January’s unemployment figures show the first dip below 10 percent in many months, causing some economists to proclaim the end of the recession is near.

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