COVID 19 has affected almost every aspect of our lives, both personal and professional, and the UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research’s annual Economic Outlook Update is no exception.

Director Patrick Barkey said the entire two-day seminar on February 1 and 2 will be held online.

“This will be the first year in which we do not physically travel the state,” said Dr. Barkey. “Because of the opioid restrictions and so forth, we'll be presenting a program online, and we're quite excited about that. However, because when nature gives you a constraint, you need to embrace the constraint, and so we have taken the opportunity to expand our program to a two day format. We've recruited national level keynote speakers. And let's face it, we're talking about a topic which is front and center in a lot of households and businesses minds, namely what is ahead for the economy.”

Barkey detailed the two keynote speakers for the event, the first of which will examine the phenomenon of a possible mass migration from major cities to rural areas like Montana.

“First we have Professor Ed Glaeser from Harvard University,” he said. “Professor Glaeser is really a nationally known expert on the patterns of growth in the economy. He's particularly well versed to address the question many Montanans are asking, namely, is it really true that the cities are emptying out and people are going to be starting to move to states like Montana?”

The second keynote speaker is a member of the Federal Reserve Board.

He is Neel Kashkari,” he said. “Neel Kashkari is a voting member of the Federal Reserve Bank's Open Markets Committee, which decides monetary policy, so he is a decision maker on things that matter a great deal for the economy. He's president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He's an excellent speaker, very well versed and extremely good at communicating why economic trends are unfolding as they are.”

Barkey said the seminar will be online and there will be a charge to attend.

“It's going to be on an online platform which will enable attendees to view the events,” he said. “I also want to stress that is also a two day event and the second day of the event we're going to be focusing on individual communities around Montana, including Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell and many other cities across the state.”

Get more details and register for the February event here.