MISSOULA — The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) will go virtual when it presents its annual Economic Outlook in early 2021, replacing the annual statewide tour in favor of a two-day video conference.
The report is always a high point for economists, business and government leaders, kicking off the next year with extensive data into market sectors like housing, natural resources, agriculture and tourism.
But last year the report was just weeks old when the pandemic hit and the 2020 report, called "The Path Forward, How Covid-19 Has Reshaped the Economy."
BBER Director Patrick Barkey says the pandemic has brought changes to Montana's economy at a "stunning rate". While it's unfortunate the presentations across the state are canceled, organizers are already starting registrations, planning for networking.
"And we're trying to make it as easy as possible, for people to recognize who else is in the crowd. To be able to step out of the presentation and have a conversation with people, step back in, and perhaps catch up on video of what you might have missed," Barkey explained.
Because it's virtual, the conference will have two national keynote speakers.
On Day One, Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Edward Glaeser, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University, will discuss how our economy will emerge from the sharpest, swiftest and most severe economic downturn in modern history, focusing on the challenges Montana will face in the rebound.
Local industry experts will give their outlook for Montana’s important economic sectors, and on the second day, will cover the economic outlooks for the state's major metropolitan regions.
The conference will take place on Feb. and Feb. 2 with registration open now at www.economicoutlookseminar.com. Registration costs $70 for individuals and $50 per person for groups of five or more. Registration for Montana University System faculty, staff and students is $25.
Attendees will receive a special issue of the Montana Business Quarterly featuring the 2021 Montana economic report, a copy of presenter slide presentations, and a one-year subscription to Montana Business Quarterly. Continuing education credits are also available.