As an economist at Creighton University since 1992, Dr. Ernie P. Goss has gained a reputation as an economic expert for the Mid American and Mountain Regions.
Goss serves as the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics and has published more than 80 research studies on topics such as economic forecasting and the statistical analysis of business and economic data. He is commonly recognized and covered by about 100 newspapers and more than 90 radio stations.
Wednesday, he will bring his expertise to an economic development summit hosted by the city of Spencer from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Clay County Regional Events Center.
"I'll be talking about the opportunities and threats that cities like Spencer and other areas in this part of the country face in the near term and long term," he said in an interview with The Daily Reporter.
Companies are looking to expand and Goss believes Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota offer prime locations for such expansion.
He will also encourage local businessmen to look beyond the national market.
"Right now communities like Spencer ... have got to really focus and look internationally," he said. "Anything to do with food or agricultural products, that's going to be an opportunity. Economic development-wise, I think in some cases we tend not to look as much at the international front as I think we should."
Large markets exist in Asia, Europe, Canada and Mexico, he added.
Goss expects the U.S. dollar to weaken internationally, consequently resulting in a stronger market for American goods in foreign nations.
"For example, it reduces the price of a U.S. bushel of corn relative to the price of Brazilian corn," he explained. "It increases the competitiveness."
Though he concedes a weakening dollar contributes to inflation, Goss believes American companies can still benefit.
"It does push up prices of foreign products in the U.S., so if you're having to compete with a Chinese company ... their prices will be going up," he contends.
Two surveys assist Goss as he assesses the current economic environment and forecasts future economic conditions.
To determine the Rural Mainstreet Index, CEOs throughout the region are surveyed.
"It tells us about conditions in rural areas that are agriculturally dependent," he said. "It tells us about farmland prices, where they've been and where they're going; farm equipment sales; and hiring in rural areas."
Supply managers are surveyed to determine the Purchasing Management Index, which Goss calls a leading economic indicator, which predicts "where the economy is going to be six to nine months from now."
"They're looking better," Goss said of the indexes. "They've gotten a little softer lately, but are still pretty strong... What's happening is the dollar is strengthening and that's really cut into agricultural income, or at least the outlook for agricultural income."
In his address, Goss will also touch on the topic of alternative energy.
"I think it's going to be better in the future with oil prices up and global expansion continuing, though not as strong as we thought," he predicted. "Iowa has been a leader in wind energy ... (and) is likely to remain a leader in that area."
No matter the topic, global expansion will be a theme throughout Goss' speech.
"You've got to look internationally," he reiterated.
In addition to Goss' hour-long presentation, breakout sessions facilitated by Smart Solutions Group will account for 45 minutes of the summit.
Participants will be able to attend sessions regarding entrepreneurship, community partnering and communication, quality of life, jobs, branding and regional strategic planning.
Those in attendance will also review the responses and common themes of community questionnaires, learn how investors and site selectors assess communities and hear economic committee reports.
To reserve a seat for the event, call Spencer City Hall at 580-7200 by 5 p.m.
Clay County Regional Events Center
Wednesday, 3:30 p.m.
Call 580-7200 by 5 p.m. Tuesday for information/reservations
3:30 Welcome/Introduction of Smart Solutions facilitator Bob Henningson
3:35 Keynote address by Dr. Ernie P. Goss
4:35 How communities are assessed by investors/site selectors
4:50 Visioning process and community survey themes
5:10 Breakout sessions with Smart Solutions Group
--Quality of life
--Regional strategic planning
5:55 Committee reports
6:20 Summary and future plans