Economist predicts slow growth for next two years

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In 2010, consumers and businesses were paying down debt and cutting spending. However, that’s a trend that will begin to reverse in 2011, according to Dr. J. Antonio Villamil, dean and research professor of economics at the St. Thomas University School of Business, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Villamil expects the economy to grow by between three and four percent during the next two years, he said during a speech given on Friday, Jan. 28, the final day of the International Marina & Boatyard Conference in Fort Lauderdale.

Both inflation and interest rates will likely remain low during this period, according to Villamil. And the increase in personal income that is beginning to take place will continue, he predicted. In addition, unemployment will slowly start to decline from 9.5 percent in 2010 to about 8 percent in 2012.

In the global economy, Villamil expects Canada to continue to perform well. China, India and Latin America are other areas he predicted would experience solid growth over the next few years.

Taking action
Therefore, Villamil recommends marine businesses pursue global marketing campaigns. Cash continues to be king, so companies need to closely monitor and manage their cash levels, he added. And now is the time to invest in growing and retaining your talent.

If you haven’t already, lock in your borrowing costs and take your banker to lunch, he suggested, as long-term banking relationships will continue to be essential to growth.

“2011 and 2012 will likely show an improving business environment from the dismal 2008 to 2010 period,” he concluded, “but a return to the good old days of 2004 to 2007 is unlikely for the foreseeable future.”

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