Monday evening Jeffrey Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, hosted a dinner at the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro for leaders from the Triad business community. He shared several insights about the current state of the economy, and among his more interesting comments were:
- That the persistently high unemployment was largely due to a mismatch between unemployed workers and the skills that potential employers are looking for. He gave several statistics to support his statement, and pointed out that unlike past recessions we will not be able to “spend our way” out of this recession.
- He highlighted several of the programs that Guilford Tech and other community colleges in North Carolina have created to help address the skills gap
- During a Q&A session after his speech he remarked that he thinks it will be years before housing rights itself. He noted a significant overhang in the single family residential market, and predicted it would take several years at a minimum for the the existing inventory to be absorbed and for SFH construction to begin to return to historically normal levels.
- He also noted that this recession, caused by the bursting of the housing bubble, has likely altered the psychology of the younger generation. Home ownership is no longer perceived to be the risk-free, American ideal it was seen as during the heyday of the housing bubble and this will likely have a long term affect on the housing market.