Economist sees modest growth in Charlotte

by: Jim Bradley Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte's economy may be humming along, but one of the country's most respected voices on the economy said Tuesday we shouldn't expect things to speed up much.
 
"I expect growth to continue at a modest pace," said Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. 
 
Lacker said he's encouraged by recent data showing an increase in new jobs being created, but he is turning back on his previous forecast that the country's economy will soon increase its growth rate to 3 percent. 
 
"I have come to the conclusion that a sustained acceleration of growth to something over 3 percent in the near future is unlikely," he said.
 
Lacker was in Charlotte speaking to the Uptown Charlotte Rotary Club. He told members that the hangover from the recession in 2008 hasn't gone away completely. 
 
"Spending and growth continues to be held back by household cautiousness, low productivity growth and relatively restrained housing markets," Lacker said.
 
As for Charlotte, some of the area’s biggest companies will begin reporting second-quarter earnings this week. 
 
While Wells Fargo and Duke Energy have reported solid profits, Bank of America and Family Dollar have had disappointing earnings so far this year. 
 
Economist Mark Vitner said second-quarter results will be watched closely.
 
"We really need to see some growth of top line revenues, which we really haven't seen much of, and some growth in earnings. We're fairly optimistic about that," Vitner said.
 
As for the federal economy, Lacker said what we see in the economy now is likely what we'll get for the foreseeable future. 
 
"Steady improvement. I think steady improvement at a moderate pace. That's the way I would characterize it," Lacker said.