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Dr. Ray Perryman, renowned economist and president/CEO of The Perryman Group economic and financial anylsis firm, speaks to attendees of the 39th annual Economic Outlook Conference at Green Acres Baptist Church Crosswalk Conference Center on Thursday.

“Resilience” was the word of the day at the 39th Annual Economic Outlook Conference at the Green Acres Baptist Church Crosswalk Conference Center in Tyler last week.

Renowned economist Dr. Ray Perryman, president/CEO of The Perryman Group – one of the nation’s leading economic and financial analysis firms – presented financial projections for the country and state as well as the East Texas area.

While the pandemic hit cities across the country hard, Perryman said the East Texas area has seen significant growth in its economy.

Thanks to the diversity in the area, as well as contributions of distribution, education and retail, the area continues on a trajectory of major economic growth over the next five years, he said.

“We do have some challenges right now, like… inflation, worker shortages and supply chain (issues),” Perryman said. “But we are in a better position to deal with the challenges. So overall, things are very promising.”

After the effects of the pandemic, Perryman said it took the United States 27 months to get back to even, 19 months for the state and 18 months for East Texas.

“Resilience really came through in that,” he said.

Perryman also said his findings revealed that due in part to a younger population and in-migration from other states, the state’s workforce is keeping pace with the job growth.

In Tyler, employment is expected to increase at 1.98 percent, a gain of almost 11,900 jobs by 2027, according to Perryman.

Tyler’s unemployment rate is trending below the state’s rate, he said. However, he expects worker shortages to linger throughout the year and “well beyond.” Slowing economic expansion will temporarily reduce the need for workers in some industries. The underlying demographic factors behind tight labor markets, however, are not going anywhere, he said.

Industries such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing, trade and natural gas are forecasted to make major contributions to the area’s economic growth.

The projected industry growth for the next five years is expected to reach $2.1 billion, according to Perryman’s study.

Based on the rate of population, employment and gross product expansion, the metropolitan area is expected to exceed the nation’s statistics, according to The Perryman Group.

When it comes to the nation, Perryman expects the economy won’t be necessarily spectacular this year but he does predict the latter part of the year will be more robust.

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