The national housing bust and rising energy prices have put U.S. economic growth in the danger zone, and the risks of a recession are growing. Although the Morgantown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has been leading the state in job growth, the national slowdown will undoubtedly have an impact in the area, say West Virginia University economists.

The issue of the areas economic status and possible impacts of the nations economic woes will be examined during the Morgantown Economic Outlook Conference from 8 a.m.-noon Wednesday, March 12, at the Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown.

The conference, presented by the WVU College of Business and Economics, will closely examine the national economic slowdown and the housing correction and what they may mean for job, population and income growth in the Morgantown metropolitan area, which includes Monongalia and Preston counties. Economic forecasts and analysis of the Morgantown MSA for the next five years will be available.

Economists George Hammond of WVU s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Nigel Gault of Global Insight, a national economic forecasting firm, will be featured along with a panel discussion with local business and government leaders.

Hammond is associate director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. For more than a decade, he has produced numerous forecasts and analyses of the state economy as well as many of the states regional economies. He is an associate professor in the College of Business and Economics and teaches in the Executive Master of Business Administration program. He has a bachelors degree from the University of Colorado and a doctorate in business economics from Indiana University.

Before joining Global Insight in 2003, Gault worked for six years as a senior global economist at Decision Economics Inc., providing international clients in financial markets with analysis of the major industrial economies. He has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University and a masters degree in economics from Cambridge University.

The conference is supported by The Dominion Post, The State Journal, BIZ Magazine, the Chambers Endowed Program for Electronic Business, Morgantown Area Economic Partnership and West Virginia Department of Revenue.

Registration for the conference is $40 per person ($55 after March 3), and student registration is $20 with a WVU ID . To register, visit or call 304-293-7831.