Too many eggs in auto basket, economist tells BGSU audience

Forecaster Mayland says demand for cars not growing to meet area's needs HURON Ken Mayland can be described as an opti
Janet
May 24, 2010

Forecaster Mayland says demand for cars not growing to meet area's needs

HURON

Ken Mayland can be described as an optimist when it comes to his thoughts about the economy this year.

However, that's not the case when he talks about the state and the northern Ohio region.

"One of the drags on our economy is we have above-average dependence on the auto industry -- and the auto industry, in terms of demand for the product, isn't growing. The demand for the product is at a healthy level -- about 16 million units of light vehicles -- but it's not growing," Mayland said.

Mayland is president of Clearview Economics LLC, a firm that specializes in economic research and forecasting.

On Thursday, Mayland spoke to a crowd of more than 200 people in BGSU Firelands Cedar Point Center.

From students to county officials, people attended the event to hear Mayland's opinion about the nation's economy.

Thursday marked the fourth year Mayland has presented his economic forecast hosted by the college and the Erie County Chamber of Commerce.

When it comes to the nation's economy, Mayland said there is a lot of pessimism.

"I think the economy is doing better than what a lot of the pessimistic opinion out there believes ... I think it will be a moderate growth year. My own projection for 2008 is for a little bit below average economic growth," he said. " Our long-term average growth is about 3.25 percent per year. My number is 2.5 percent. I'm below, but the fact is, that, relative to a lot of other people is optimistic."

Firelands acting dean James Smith said the annual Erie County economic forecast is a great resource the college offers to its students and the community.

"His track record in predicting is impressive," Smith said.

Cindy Miglietti, an associate professor of accounting and finance at BGSU Firelands, has attended Mayland's economic forecast every year.

"I think he was right on," Miglietti said after the 90-minute presentation.

"People are talking themselves into thinking recession. The signs are not there yet," she said.

Mayland's presentation included a slide show of charts and graphs. Topics presented Thursday included high-energy prices, subprime mortgage problems, foreclosures, manufacturing and tax rebates.

"I can't say I am thrilled about what is being talked about," said Mayland, referring to the proposed tax rebates. "It's one step removed from digging a hole and covering it back up again," he said, triggering laughter from the audience.

Mayland said he is not optimistic about the future of the state. Ohio needs to be more competitive with tax rates and with the cost of doing business.

"The Ohio economy has underperformed. The national average, in terms of job growth, we come in about a full percentage point short of national job growth and, quite frankly, I see that tendency persisting because the business environment is not going to change any time soon -- not any time in the foreseeable future."