JACKSON, Wyo. - Global economic experts came together to discuss how important world issues can impact the local economy.
The Jackson Hole Rotary Club and the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce hosted their fifth annual Global Economic Forum.
"Everything has sort of a ripple effect, and a lot of it's perception," said Mike Sillman, a member of the Rotary Club and Vice President of the Bank of Jackson Hole. "What the market perceives as a problem may not necessarily be so, but it does affect us here."
"We can make decisions locally and how we can play in the larger pool," said Jeff Golightly, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Six panelists started with the bigger picture, discussing topics including turmoil in the Middle East, China's growing economy and the suffering Euro.
"I would take a reasonably positive view in the medium- to long-term," said panelist Paul O'Brien, the head of fixed income strategy for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, referencing the Middle East's rich oil resources.
"I think the best thing for us as Americans is to have a strong China with a great middle class, that wants to buy products that we can make," said panelist Wes Lucas, CEO of SIRVA, Inc.
"The euro de-links political sovereignty and individual decisions about currency," said panelist Debra Cafaro, CEO of Ventas, Inc.
Then, the panelists honed in. Not only is Jackson Hole a remote mecca for the wealthy, who like to invest. Wyoming is a big source of energy. However, coal is being phased out of electrical grids and the value of natural gas is dropping.
"I think with Wyoming's energy situation -- I think we've been accustomed to how good it is and people are relaxed, but I think it's at a real point of danger," said panelist Robert Grady, who manages the Cheyenne Capital Fund and was a deputy assistant to President George H.W. Bush.
In addition, nearby American treasures, including Yellowstone National Park, draw in tourists from around the globe. Panelists agreed that a stronger world economy means a stronger Wyoming.
"Jackson's economy is very, very, very strong and it will continue to be that way," said panelist and Wyoming Treasurer Mark Gordon. "I think things look good for Wyoming and for Jackson."
Each of the panelists predicted how they thought the U.S. economy would change in the next five years. They mainly predicted a little bit of growth, but with some reservations because of America's high unemployment and national debt.