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Economist predicts growth this year

Economist John Mitchell told a Medford audience today that a stronger economy should be in store in 2014.

"There are lots of reasons to expect a stronger performance," Mitchell told a Chamber of Medford/Jackson County Forum audience at the Rogue Valley Country Club. "We're not going to have a drag from those increase in taxes and spending cuts we saw in early 2013. "There are lot of things you can point to consistent with the notion of growth."

Among those, he said are stronger household balance sheets, falling energy prices, a revived housing market and state and local governments becoming more financially stable.

Mitchell said the upturn following the Great Recession is closing in on historical norms.

"Net worth, adjusted for households and inflations, is now essentially back to where it was in 2007," Mitchell said.

Economic growth is expected to rise between 2.8 percent and 3 percent in 2014 with improvement in 2015, he said, while inflation stays below 2 percent.

He said later the economic drag from the federal government's sequester and shutdown will fade in the year.

"You're not going to have another shutdown fiasco like you had in the fall," Mitchell said. "That's one of the significant reasons for expecting stronger performance in 2014."

— Greg Stiles

Read more about what John Mitchell said at the forum in Tuesday's Mail Tribune.