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Topics of USC economic conference range from floods to robots

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 16, 2015
The 35th annual Economic Outlook Conference at the University of South Carolina will focus on topics like recovering from historic flooding and how robots could impact manufacturing and other jobs.

The event is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 17 in the W.W. Hootie Johnson Performance Hall at the Darla Moore School of Business. Registration is online and tickets cost $75 before Nov. 20 and $95 after.

In addition to Moore School research economist Joey Von Nessen’s forecast presentation, this year’s conference will feature New York Times bestselling author Martin Ford, whose book, “Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future,” focuses on the impact of mechanized work on future jobs.

Martin Ford
Business executives can expect to hear how October’s historic floods will impact the economy of the state and its regions as well as discover a breakdown for anticipated job growth, personal income and trends for industries and sectors.

“2016 is going to be a pivotal year for the South Carolina economy,” said Doug Woodward, director of research at the Moore School. “The state’s economic conditions have improved significantly over the past two years. Now we face uncertainty stemming from likely end of the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest rate policy, coupled with the challenges of recovering from the 2015 floods.”

Ford, a Silicon Valley-based software executive, has worked in computer design and software development for more than 25 years. He earned computer engineering degrees from the University of Michigan and UCLA. His first book, titled “The Lights In the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future,” was released in 2009. He often is interviewed by national media about the future of technology.

Ford will sign his book “Rise of the Robots,” which will be available for purchase, after his keynote.

Rick Kaglic, senior regional economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, which serves the Carolinas, will discuss automated work as it relates to his analysis of and forecasts for regional economic development.

Moore School Dean Peter Brews will address how business education must adjust to plan for and adapt to a world dominated by technology and automated work. Brews contends that future workers must drive innovation at a faster rate and become members of what he calls the “creative core” or the part of an organization entrusted with building the next product, service or solution.

Jay Bryson, a Charlotte-based managing director and global economist for Wells Fargo Securities, will discuss the Federal Reserve’s expected increase in interest rates and how South Carolina businesses and consumers must prepare.

This year’s conference is sponsored by S.C. Research Authority, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and South State Bank.

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