Economist Nicholas Perna spoke before 300 guests and employees of Fairfield County Bank, Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services, and Fairfield County Financial Services at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton, Connecticut. Mr. Perna, a well regarded economic expert and former economist for the Federal Reserve, discussed the United States economy, the stock market, Connecticut’s economy and his views on the future.
Mr. Perna began the evening discussing the United States economy demonstrating relatively strong job growth and a spectacular unemployment rate which currently sits at 4%. The inflation rate of 2% is right where the Federal Reserve targets as a sweet spot for growth. With the stock market having its biggest rally in recent memory, Mr. Perna stated that market gains not only reflect a good economy but show consumers and businesses are reacting positively to low-interest rates, potential tax cuts, and possible deregulation.
Connecticut’s economy has not seen as much positive growth. Since the Great Recession, Connecticut has job growth of 2% while Massachusetts has a 6% growth rate and the United States has 9%. Connecticut lags in growth because of the fiscal issues that the state faces. Connecticut was growing as fast as the United States after the recession but hit a roadblock in 2011 when Connecticut passed a budget that fixed short-term issues rather than long-term. Mr. Perna has hope for Connecticut as the state passed a bipartisan budget with a spending cap and a way to form a rainy day fund.
“We see it as our responsibility to ensure Fairfield County Bank Customers have access to insights relevant to making the right decisions for their future. Many thanks to Mr. Perna for sharing his expert perspectives and holding a wonderful Q&A session,” said David Schneider, Fairfield County Bank’s Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Perna holds a Ph.D. in economics from MIT and an undergraduate degree from Boston College. Locally, Mr. Perna is also a Fairfield Prep graduate. In 1999, he founded Perna Associates specializing in economic analysis, forecasting and strategy. Before that, Nick was Chief Economist for several large regional banks. He was also an economist with General Electric, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in Washington. Mr. Perna taught at Williams College, NYU, the University of California, and most recently, Yale. Until January, he was the Economic Advisor to Webster Bank and is currently a director of Prudential Bank & Trust.
Nick has appeared numerous times on the PBS NewsHour and other national and local news broadcasts. The Wall Street Journal and Business Week both cited him as one of the top economic forecasters in the United States.
Founded in 1871, Fairfield County Bank is a $1.5 billion community bank with locations throughout Fairfield County. Fairfield County Bank delivers a full range of financial services through superior customer relationships and the knowledge that when you put your money in Fairfield County Bank, it stays in Fairfield County - strengthening our communities. Visit www.fairfieldcountybank.com to find out more about the Bank.