Knoxville Economics Forum scores national audience

Attendance at today’s Knoxville Economics Forum event — a speech by Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart — was smaller than the Forum’s first event last fall, but this time the group scored a national business audience.

featured-img-2.jpgReporters from Bloomberg, Dow Jones and other national outlets filed reports on Lockhart’s speech at Club Le Conte.

The national exposure is a coup for the Forum and should help the group schedule other prominent speakers. Members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are among those on the Forum’s wish list.

Lockhart, by the way, presented a relatively optimistic take on the economy, although he described the recovery as fragile.

He focused most of his remarks on manufacturing, which Lockhart said is in better shape than one might think.

A couple of highlights from his speech:

— U.S. manufacturing is recovering nicely from the recession, although hiring has not returned to pre-recession levels.

“I want to summarize manufacturing in very basic terms: its output level is up; output share is steady: employment is down; productivity is up and, therefore, wages are up. That’s the manufacturing story in a few words.”

— The overall U.S. economy is growing and Lockhart forecasts “a continuing moderate pace of expansion. This moderate growth will gradually bring down the level of unemployment. I am also forecasting that the composite of inflation measures will level off around a rate consistent with the Fed’s price stability mandate.”

Headlines from Lockart’s Knoxville speech:

Knoxville News Sentinel: Fed’s Lockhart downplays impact of commodity price increases

Bloomberg: Lockhart Urges ‘Patience’ in Fed Policy Amid Modest U.S. Growth

Wall Street Journal: Fed’s Lockhart: Central Bank to Offer Guidance Before Tightening

Reuters: Fed’s Lockhart sees muted inflation effect from oil

Dow Jones Newswires: Lockhart: Fed Funds, Interest On Reserves Would Rise In Tightening

Text of Lockhart’s speech