The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Outlook Summit returns with featured speakers

Carley Nail

College students, faculty members and business owners gathered at the Clarke M. Williams Innovation Campus for the 2023 Business Outlook Summit. After an eight-year hiatus, ULM’s College of Business and Social Sciences (CBSS) reunited with Louisiana Tech’s College of Business to host the event.

The Business Outlook Summit 2023 featured three guest speakers, each specializing in a different area of economics. The summit focused on examining the economic forecasts for the upcoming year. This year’s speakers reviewed data on unemployment numbers, inflation, interest rates and outmigration. 

Director of External Affairs Cathi Hemed worked with CBSS faculty to select speakers and find sponsors. She said she believes the Business Outlook Summit provides crucial information and data for local businesses. 

“Both universities are top in their field for economic research, and each has a dedicated research center to support this type of work,” Hemed said. “The economic climate and forecast of what is to come allows a business to plan more effectively for the year ahead.”

Chief investment strategist for Oppenheimer Asset Management John Stoltzfus served as the summit’s keynote speaker. He discussed the national economic outlook, citing areas for concern. Stoltzfus primarily focused on the role of globalization and diversification of the supply chain in the U.S. economy. 

Globalization refers to the increasing reliance of world economic systems and markets on one another. 

As conflicts rage in Israel and Ukraine, businesses may be impacted. Diversifying the supply chain may be a solution for companies negatively impacted by political disagreements and disasters. 

Following the keynote speaker, LA Tech economics professor Patrick Scott presented the statewide economic outlook. Scott reviewed Louisiana’s post-pandemic unemployment numbers and labor productivity.

He argues that the state heavily relies on the construction and manufacturing of intermediate goods rather than final products. According to his research, 53% of Louisiana’s output is intermediate goods. Essentially, Louisiana is supplying the means of producing a final product but is not profiting off the sale of the final product. 

Lastly, ULM professor of economics Paul Nelson outlined the economic outlook for Northeast Louisiana. His presentation targeted the outmigration of businesses and workers out of the region. Nelson calculated that Louisiana experienced a net loss of over 30,000 residents in 2022. 

Despite this massive loss of workers, Nelson believes that creating new business ventures and valuing entrepreneurship could be a solution. Then, the local owners, workers and suppliers can reap the benefits of successful businesses. 

“If you get a new firm coming in that’s building a plant here, that’s great. But the owners are somewhere else,” Nelson said. “But if you start a new venture, the owners stay here, and the income received becomes spending for others.”

Audience members walked away with a deeper understanding of Louisiana’s complex economic system. Sophomore business administration major Karly Keyser stated that the Business Outlook Summit helped her understand what changes needed to be made. 

“It was interesting to see the changes in unemployment numbers from the 1990s to 2022 and how COVID affected the economy,” Keyser said. “I liked learning about what we can do to fix these issues.” 

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