Mark Vitner Speaks on the Economy



I had a chance to hear Mark Vitner, Director and Senior Economist at Wachovia, speak this morning at the Credit Conference of the South Carolina Bankers Association. A few highlights/quotes from his presentation are:

He “doesn’t understand where the pessimism regarding the economy is coming from.”

“Is a national 4.8% unemployment rate (0.2 below full unemployment) symbolic of a recession?”

“Wachovia has included a recession in their corporate forecast, but a very modest one”

“This recession doesn’t meet the smell test”

“Housing and financial services are declining, but other areas are strong.”

“Low consumer spending on durable goods (cars, furniture, TV’s) equals fewer imports, which adds to the GDP”

“Regarding the housing slow-down, we buy lumber from Canada, and fixtures and accessories overseas, so the recession has basically been outsourced.”

“The economic stimulus package will not give the boost that it did last time. This year, more of it will go to cover higher fuel and food costs for families.”

“Manufacturing activity is consistent with a slowdown, but not necessarily a recession.”

“The second quarter of 2009 will show a slight increase in residential construction.”

“Housing starts will not meaningfully rebound before the end of the decade.”

“Over 60% of the US population lives in cities with positive home price growth.”

“The national industrial market is stronger than the overall vacancy rates might suggest.”
“Charlotte experienced a population growth of 80,000 people in 2007, more than the growth of the entire state of South Carolina.”

“South Carolina has historically had one of the worst unemployment rates in the country, but it is improving”

Mr. Vitner questions the methodology that the State of South Carolina uses to calculate unemployment, and stated that he feels that the statistics “have been wrong since 2000.”

You can get more information from the Wachovia Economic Research Department here:


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