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Wasatch Front job outlook called dismal

Published: Thursday, Nov. 19 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

The chief investment strategist for Key Private Bank said Wednesday morning that the employment outlook along the Wasatch Front is more dismal than the national average.

As evidence, Bruce McCain cited job growth after the 2001 recession. On average nationally, it took 11 months for the job losses to bottom out and 33 months to return to a period of job growth. But in Utah, it took 22 months for job losses to bottom out and 31 months to return to a period of job growth, which means that new jobs will not be created to absorb the unemployed along the Wasatch Front for a long time.

"It doesn't look like prospects for getting to the bottom and coming out to the other side are brighter here than other parts of the country," McCain said during an Economic Outlook Presentation at Little America Hotel.

And from the national perspective, employment growth could take longer than in the last recession, he said. McCain showed data that indicated that with each recession, growth takes longer to achieve. For instance, in 1991, job loss bottomed out in six months as compared to 2001's 11 months. And in 1991, job growth occurred in 15 months, as compared to 2001's 33 months.

McCain did not have Wasatch Front data for 1991 to verify whether job growth took longer with each recession.

Most of McCain's presentation Wednesday featured national economic trends, including inflation and hyperinflation. Inflation can occur when government needs to spend money and doesn't have any money to spend, he said.

Typically a government obtains money by borrowing overseas, but when the debt is high a government cannot borrow. So the only other way to obtain cash is by printing more of it, which causes inflation, McCain said.

The federal government can reverse the course toward inflation by keeping interest rates low and cutting government spending, which is politically risky.

"We do think, however, there are several warning stages along the way to hyperinflation," McCain said, noting that they include a high deficit, high interest rates and a weak dollar.

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