Lynn Reaser, chief economist at the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The U.S. economy should grow faster this year than last, with California and San Diego continuing to add new jobs, a Point Loma Nazarene University economist predicted Friday.

“We actually seem to be doing better than most countries in the world,” said Dr. Lynn Reaser. “We will see growth of 2.5 percent this year, which is more than last year.”

Reaser, the chief economist at the university’s Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, said San Diego will see 35,000 new jobs in 2016, just a few thousand less than last year.

“San Diego is creating a lot of new jobs, but housing affordability is acute,” she said.

Reaser spoke to more than 200 local business leaders at the Fermanian Institute’s 2016 Economic Outlook Forum at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.

Her presentation and answers to questions from the audience addressed issues ranging from global economic challenges to the U.S. stock market to a new football stadium in San Diego. Among the key points the economist made:

  • San Diego will see permits issued for 9,500 housing units, but that’s not enough to stop the rise in housing costs.
  • California has outperformed the nation for 46 consecutive months and now boasts three of the world’s four largest companies. “Everyone is in fact not leaving the state,” she said.
  • The Golden State will create 405,000 new jobs in 2016, but its unemployment rate will remain above the U.S. average.
  • The global economy faces five challenges: slowing growth in China, the plunge in oil prices, easy money policies by central banks, a soaring dollar and the migrant crisis in Europe.
  • Asked about the Presidential campaign, she said “the risk of a populist candidate from either site winning the election could unleash a mass of uncertainties.” But she noted that so far the candidates are providing few policy specifics.
  • Stocks had “a horrible start” in 2016 due to “a major disconnect” between the underlying economy and the financial markets. “We believe this is basically a very nasty correction,” she said. “Stock prices will move higher this year.”
  • Most economic studies show football stadiums don’t bring “huge economic gains” to cities. “I think it would be great to have the Chargers here, but I don’t think it’s a good use of public funds,” she said.

The institute provides consulting services to public institutions and private companies.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.