TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An optimistic forecast for Tyler's economy comes from the Perryman Group on Thursday. Dr. Ray Perryman, President and CEO of the economic research and analysis firm, predicts the local economic output will increase by $2.6 billion over the next five years. In addition, 12,000 new jobs will be added into the Tyler economy.
The forum today focused on local, state, national and international economies and how politics and geopolitical bargaining coincide with business. Dr. Perryman says he's optimistic about President-elect Donald Trump, but not necessarily about Mr. Trump himself.
"Mr. Trump does not have a policy history, his pronouncements are sometimes contradictory," Perryman said. "That's going to generate some uncertainty as we move forward."
But Perryman says since there will be just one party controlling both the legislature and the White House, there will be more predictability than with the current administration. Perryman says President-elect Trump is less likely than President Obama to veto Republican legislation that makes it to the Resolute.
"The reason [markets] are encouraged is not necessarily because of Mr. Trump's election," he said, "but if you look at the dynamic of the power structure in Washington right now, the guy who ... has the most clear agenda and is the most politically astute at getting things done is Paul Ryan."
He says the Speaker of the House is person in Washington that businesses are most comfortable with. Perryman also says he's excited about December's OPEC deal. WTI Crude and Brent Crude barrel prices are past $50 as OPEC nations cut their output and decrease excess supply.
"I don't think it'll be a big dramatic swing," Perryman said referring to local hiring in the energy industry, "I think it'll be a little more gradual."
Tom Mullins with the Tyler Economic Development Council says most energy production and service companies will wait for prices to stabilize at higher rates before hiring large amounts of new workers, which could take several more months. The forum hosted businesses from across all sectors of the local economy: banks, energy providers, hospitals were all in attendance. The loudest message they heard from Perryman was about education.
"If you look at the demographic changes in Texas, the one things we have to do to make sure we continue to grow ... is have a first class education system." Perryman said.
He says the main legislative focus of the State of Texas should be creating a knowledge economy, with more training for jobs in technology and medicine. On the federal level, he says preventing President-elect Trump from creating and influencing anti-trade policies is important for American businesses, who create more products than buyers inside national borders are able to consume.
In addition, Perryman says beginning to trip the debt toward zero should be a top priority. After large deficits and debt racked up under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, Perryman hopes the new administration and legislature will begin to make eliminating the deficit more than a political talking point.
Overall, Dr. Ray Perryman says the most important thing any economy can do to attract business into its districts is to make the area livable. From business friendly policies, to natural beauty, livability is what ultimately drives employers into a region, and dollars into an economy.
"The very first rule is be a place people want to be," Perryman said. "I think Tyler's done a very good job of that."