The Federal Reserve on Facing Financial Uncertainty in Illinois

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Federal Reserve Bank Senior Economist and Economic Advisor Rick Mattoon to Speak at Trust Company of Illinois’ 10th Annual Spring Conference May 14th

People want to know, ‘Are we there yet?’ in terms of recovery. Most people want more certainty and predictability.

The Illinois economy is tanking. And tax payers are losing hope.

At least that’s what the barrage of headlines would have you believe. A 2014 50-state Gallup poll found that if given the opportunity half of all Illinoisans (a percentage higher than any other state) would leave Illinois, predominately because of work/business, cost of living, and taxes. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/168770/half-illinois-connecticut-move-elsewhere.aspx)

Another more recent headline pointed out that while Illinois tax revenue has increased, the number of employed people has not increased proportionately. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts study, while Illinois tax revenues are up 22.5 percent over pre-recession highs, fewer people are working than before the recession of 2008 (http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/analysis/2015/03/23/since-recession-tax-revenue-lags-in-30-states). Simply, taxes are up; employment is down. Add to that the pile of unpaid bills that many anticipate will only be paid through more tax hikes, and Illinois residents seem to have more money worries than residents in others states.

According to Rick Mattoon, a Federal Reserve Bank senior economist and economic advisor, the story of Illinois is not so dissimilar from the rest of the country. Like the rest of the nation, Illinois’ economic future is one of uncertainty.

Mattoon says, “People want to know, ‘Are we there yet?’ in terms of recovery. Most people want more certainty and predictability. Nationally and at the state level, we are in a recovery. But there is an unevenness in economic growth. We’ve had a good quarter followed by a bad quarter pattern. Following a good quarter, the expectation is we have turned a corner and things will start growing fast. But the growth expectation is knocked down.”

Amidst the ups-and-downs of the economy, overall U.S. household wealth is at an all-time record, says Mattoon. And people who stuck with their assets during the recession are now seeing their wealth restored.

For the working, middle-class family with limited assets, the story diverges. “Wages have been very flat over this recovery,” says Mattoon. “So these families probably don’t feel better off than before the recession hit. This recovery has been very hard to get a return on fixed-rate, relatively risk-free investments because interest rates have been so low.” Mattoon predicts 2015 will be the year when the recovery will finally start to spread into middle-income households, if meaningful wage and salary increases occur.

On Thursday, May 14, 2015, Trust Company of Illinois will hold its annual Spring Conference at Northern Illinois University’s Naperville Campus, where Mattoon will take the stage as the keynote speaker and tackle these complicated financial issues as well as others facing our nation. He will shed light on why this recovery has been so slow relative to previous recoveries as well as whether we can expect faster growth in the next couple years.

Those interested in hearing more from Mattoon can attend the conference, which is open to the public. Registration is required. Call Paula at 630-545-2200. Doors open at 2:45 pm and the program begins at 3:30 pm. The NIU Naperville Campus is located at 1120 East Diehl Road, Naperville, IL 60563.

If you can’t make it to Naperville, you can listen live to the webcast of Mattoon’s presentation. Simply email Paula at ppb(at)trustcoil(dot)com for access to the link.

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Kirsten Tangeros
CZ Strategy
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