Business outlook panel to visit 11 Hoosier cities

With the ending of the presidential election yesterday, the fate of America's economy again lies in the hands of the re-elected President George W. Bush. Indiana economists have plans and theories as to what will happen with oil prices, inflation, growth productivity, interest rates and employment in the coming years, and they want their predictions to be heard during this year's Business Outlook Tour.\nRepresentatives from all IU campuses and the Kelley School of Business will hold a panel presentation at 7:30 a.m. today at the Westin Hotel in Indianapolis, kicking off the annual tour which has been traveling the state for more than 30 years.\nThe panel will then appear for a similar presentation at noon today at Terry's Banquet and Catering in Bloomington, and continue to travel to 11 cities throughout Indiana during November. The panel will travel to seven of the eight cities where IU satellite campuses are located.\nThis year's event features discussions of the economic outlook for the world, the nation, Indiana and its major cities, as well as commentary on how the financial markets are likely to fare in the year ahead, according to a statement issued by IU Media Relations.\nThe starting point for the forecast is the Indiana Econometric Model, which combines state statistics and a national forecast to develop projections for the coming year.\nWillard Witte, an associate professor of economics at IU, will be a part of the panel at the Anderson, South Bend and Richmond, Ind. presentations. He will be focusing on the national economic outlook.\nWitte said the purpose of the panel presentations is to help inform the public about the future of economics locally and internationally.\n"It's an outreach activity," he said. "We provide some information that can be useful for the forecast of what to look out for in the business world. It's a chance for people to talk with people in the real world and see what's on their minds."\nWitte said in a panel of four to five people, usually each person gives a presentation on a separate division of economics -- local, state, national, international and financial. The floor is then opened to the audience for questions to the panel.\nWitte said he anticipates many questions regarding President Bush's re-election and how that will affect the economy.\n"Our position on the panel is that for the next year, we don't think the election outcome makes a great deal of difference," he said. "Even with Bush getting re-elected, he doesn't have a lot of room to maneuver. He's already got a lot of people and ideas in the places he wants them."\nThe main audience for the presentations are local businesspeople, but students at local campuses are welcome as well, Witte said.\nIn addition to professors from each of IU's campuses, professors from other local colleges and universities throughout the state will also take part in the panel's tour. \nThis year's sponsors of the panel are IU's Kelley School of Business, the IU Alumni Association, IU campuses and local organizations at each of the cities the panel will visit.\nThe Bloomington presentation will be recorded and available online to the public starting at 2:30 p.m. today, said George Vlahakis, IU Media Relations representative. The recording will be posted at A news release will also be posted at after the event. \nA complete schedule of dates and cities the panel will visit is available at\n-- Contact staff writer Lori Snow at

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