Speaker- The evidence of recovery is clear

Saturday, May 4, 2002

P The presentation was welcome news in troubling times.

The nation's financial doldrums are discouraging at best, depressing at worst.

Governments that expanded programs and services during the boom time of the 1990s are now wondering how to keep those programs -- and all the others -- afloat. It appears some of the burden will be shifted to taxpayers, who already are struggling with investments gone south.

And while there are signs of recovery here and there, Americans are ready to return to normalcy.

Take heart, it's coming, says Edmond Seifried, a professor at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

He was in Cape Girardeau late last month speaking to an invitation-only group of business leaders and others at Southeast Missouri State University. The event was sponsored by the First National Bank.

Anyone can say encouraging words, but Seifried is a nationally recognized speaker on economic issues and forecasting techniques. He says the recession ended in December, when leading economic indicators -- among them the capacity utilization rate, the stock price average and the industrial production index -- began a more positive trend.

That may seem hard to believe today, but Seifried offered other compelling evidence.

The largest number of teen-agers are about to enter the workforce and spend their earnings.

Baby boomers, known for being big spenders -- so much so that many haven't even socked enough away for retirement -- are poised to inherit money from their elderly parents. Those parents, who saw the Depression, made up perhaps the most thrifty generation in history.

Even boomers without well-to-do parents are reaching their peak earning potential.

And foreign investors increasingly are doing business in America, building and relocating companies in the United States.

What will all this mean? Seifried says the Dow could hit 15,000 in the next three to five years and 25,000 in the next 10.

The presentation was welcome news in troubling times.

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