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Darla Moore School of Business

  • 41st Annual Economic Outlook Conference presented by the Darla Moore School of business: In-Person and virtual Tuesday, December 7, 12 to 4 p.m.

2021 Economic Outlook Conference

Tuesday, Dec. 7   |   In-Person and Virtual   |   Pastides Alumni Center   |  Register online

With ongoing uncertainty stemming from new waves of COVID, will the South Carolina and national economy continue to recover in 2022? What will happen after the unprecedented federal stimulus winds down? Will the roaring twenties stock market keep roaring or are we headed for correction? Will housing prices and rents keep rising a record rates? What about jobs and business expansion? Will the economy move toward full employment or stagnate? Will there continue to be supply disruptions and labor shortages?

The University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business will hold its annual conference on Tuesday, Dec. 7, from 12-4 p.m., with state and national political and economic experts. The event will address the dramatic changes to the economy during the pandemic. Looking ahead, speakers will provide an outlook for jobs, housing and business conditions. The event will be interactive and will include several opportunities for Q&A.

Attendees have the option to attend in-person or virtually.

  • In-person (includes lunch): $55
  • Virtual: $40

Conference Speakers and Agenda

Time Event
11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Lunch / Networking (in-person attendees only)
1-1:10 p.m. Welcome
Peter Brews, dean, Darla Moore School of Business
1:10 - 1:40 p.m. South Carolina Economic Forecast
Joseph Von Nessen, research economist, Darla Moore School of Business
1:40-2:10 p.m. An Economic Update: Where We've Been, Where We Are and Where We're Going
Laura Ullich, regional economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Charlotte branch

Ullrich’s presentation will cover the impact of the COVID-19-induced recession and the recovery that has followed. She will pay special attention to the labor market and current employment trends. 
2:10-2:20 p.m. Q&A
2:20-2:30 p.m. Break
2:30-3 p.m. Understanding Washington: Why Inflation May be More Than Transitory
Mick Mulvaney, former White House chief of staff, South Carolina congressman and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

From a non-partisan perspective, Mulvaney will discuss how much of the recent attention on Washington’s impact on inflation has focused on what might be perceived as one-off events: the COVID-19 pandemic, huge spending bills, temporary unemployment benefits, etc. He said that perspective isn’t wrong, but it does gloss over other more structural – and enduring – tendencies in Washington. Mulvaney will also examine how Washington may be creating quasi-permanent inflationary pressure.
3-3:30 p.m. Will Asset Prices Boom Abate in 2022?
Doug Woodward, division of research director and professor of economics, Darla Moore School of Business

Woodward will explore how the Federal Reserve pumped an unprecedented $5 trillion into the U.S. economy since the pandemic began in March 2020 and how the central bank kept interest rates at historic lows. To date, there has been no hyperinflation in the prices of goods and services as a result of this easy-money policy. Instead, assets prices have soared — from home values to stocks and cryptocurrencies. An unintended consequence has been to exacerbate America’s wealth inequality between “haves” and “have nots." Woodward will discuss what will happen as the central bank scales back the easy-money policy in the coming year. He will address the questions: will the asset market bubbles finally burst and what are the implications for the South Carolina economy? 
3:30-3:45 p.m. Final Q&A


Special thanks to our sponsor: South Carolina Research Authority

2021 Speaker Bios 

Mick Mulvaney photo

former White House chief of staff, South Carolina congressman and acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Few people are as familiar with Washington, D.C,. from the inside as Mick Mulvaney. He managed the White House as chief-of-staff to President Donald Trump during both an impeachment and the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the director of the Office of Management and Budget and a cabinet member, Mulvaney oversaw the broadest deregulatory initiative in 40 years and managed the longest government shutdown in history. He also served as acting director of one of the most controversial federal regulators, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and was ambassador and special envoy to Northern Ireland during the height of Brexit.

Prior to his executive branch service, Mulvaney was elected four times to the U.S. House of Representatives, where, amongst other things, he co-founded the Freedom Caucus and the Bitcoin Caucus. He also served in the South Carolina House and Senate.

Prior to public service, he worked in various roles:  lawyer, real estate developer, restaurant owner/operator and franchisor and homebuilder.

Laura Ulrich headshot

regional economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Charlotte branch

Laura Ullrich is a regional economist at the Charlotte branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Previously, Ullrich was associate dean for undergraduate programs and a professor of economics at Winthrop University. She earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Georgia and a master's and doctorate in economics from the University of Tennessee. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a business consultant for Ernst & Young, specializing in executive compensation determination. In 2014, she served as a Fulbright Scholar teaching economics in Kosovo and has spent considerable time working on local economic development issues in Bolivia.

Ullrich's research interests include higher education, school finance reform, local and state level tax and expenditure analyses, welfare policy and the economic impact of local development. She is an active member of her community, currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. She also serves on the board of Family Promise of York County, the Rock Hill Technology Incubator, the Carolina Immigrant Alliance and the Winthrop Eagle Club.

Joey Von Nessen headshot

research economist, University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business

Joseph C. Von Nessen is a research economist in the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business where he specializes in regional economics, regional economic forecasting and housing economics. He regularly conducts a wide variety of economic impact analyses, feasibility studies and independent market research projects for clients in both the private and public sector.

Von Nessen engages in industry-level and regional economic forecasting for organizations at the state, national and international level. He has served as lead researcher on projects with clients as diverse as Sonoco, BlueCross BlueShield, Michelin, Boeing and the Savannah River National Lab, among others. He has also been the recipient of many grants from both local and national sources, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Von Nessen is also responsible for the preparation and presentation of the University of South Carolina's annual statewide economic forecast. He serves on the advisory committee of the South Carolina Board of Economic Advisors and is regularly invited to brief the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on economic conditions in South Carolina. He frequently appears on programs at national conventions, including the International Builders Show, the 21st Century Building Expo and the North American Regional Science Council and its subsidiaries.

In addition, Von Nessen specializes in housing economics and residential real estate and provides economic and marketing research and consulting services to builders, developers and other businesses in the housing industry on a regular basis. His recent academic research has focused on the application of hedonic house price modeling to the housing industry. He is a member of the National Association of Home Builders and is actively involved with the local branches of the Home Builders Association and the Association of REALTORS throughout South Carolina.

Von Nessen is a frequent speaker for business and government leaders throughout the southeast, providing information and consultation about business, housing markets and local economies. He also makes frequent media appearances to discuss various local economic topics of interest.

Doug Woodward headshot

Division of Research director and professor of economics, University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business

Doug Woodward is professor of economics and the director of the Division of Research at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin in 1986. He joined the University of South Carolina faculty in 1987.

Woodward’s primary research interests are regional economics, firm location, urban and industrial clustering, and foreign direct investment. He is co-author of a book on foreign direct investment in the United States, The New Competitors, ranked as one of the “top ten business and economics books” by Business Week and listed by Fortune as one of the books “CEOs are reading." He has published widely in academic journals, including the Journal of Urban Economics, the Journal of Regional Science, Regional Science and Urban Economics, the Journal of Economic Geography, and the Review of Economics and Statistics. His recently published papers have investigated local area labor matching and knowledge spillovers. Professor Woodward also has ongoing research comparing regional economic cluster development across the world. He has ongoing research investigating foreign investment and economic development in Africa.

Over his career, Woodward has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and many other funding agencies. He has testified before local, state and national government committees and has presented his research at many conferences around the world, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He has often appeared in the media discussing economic development and related topics

Woodward served as the 2013 president of the North American Regional Science Council. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Regional Science and the Review of Regional Studies. From 2010 to 2011, he was president of the Southern Regional Science Association and was honored to be named as a fellow of the association in 2016.


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