Business Cautiously Optimistic On 2013 Economic Forecast - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Business Cautiously Optimistic On 2013 Economic Forecast

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Starting to see progress, both in this area and around the country. That's what a couple hundred local business leaders heard Tuesday at the annual economic forecast at the Putnam Museum. One key issue in how 2013 may unfold is a prevailing theme of uncertainty.

Dr. J.B. Penn, Chief Economist for Deere and Company, predicts the economy's growth to be similar to last year's of somewhere under two percent.

"Housing sector is off the bottom and beginning to move up... the economy will likely this year add two million new jobs."

The Midwest and this area he says pretty much tracks the national trends as far as unemployment. Manufacturing does a little better with companies like ALCOA bringing back employees from layoffs several years ago and then some.

"We've been in a hiring mode for the last couple years. We have our $300 million automotive expansion project underway right now," said John Riches, public relations.

Penn says the ag sector is booming which is something Aaron Tennant, owner of Tennant Truck Lines, is happy to hear. "Our businesses is dependent on agriculture, we transport farm machinery and construction equipment so if those markets are doing well, we're probably doing well."

But even with that and 60 new jobs over the last year, he says other planned growth at the end of the year was put off thanks to looming issues in Washington. "The root cause and the real problem is the sequestration. That's the uncertainty that scares me," added Tennant.

It's issues like the sequestration, continuing resolution, and the debt ceiling putting a drag on the domestic economy. Uncertainty impacts decision making of consumers, industries and companies, so it could all depend on how major issues like these are handled on a national level.

"Sounds like we're kind of riding that fence and could get pulled one way or the other," added Riches.

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