POMEROY — The challenges of the economy, the local financial impact, and the outlook for change were topics addressed by Chuck Sulerzyski, president and chief executive officer of Peoples Bank, when he spoke at this week’s meeting of the Meigs County Chamber of Commerce.
The speaker began by asking the business leaders present whether they were optimistic or pessimistic about the economy of Meigs County. He then gave an overview of the global outlook for improvement and described it as “challenging.” However, he said, that the economy in the United States is “doing as well as other countries in Europe.”
Sulerzyski said that “manufacturing is not dead in the United States,” and that this country along with Germany remains the only two countries making anything complex. “The shortage of technical workers is the biggest challenge facing American today.We can’t get enough,” he said. He spoke of the need for engineers, people with advanced degrees, and medical personnel and again emphasized that “we can’t produce without technical workers.”
Turning to Meigs County, he described the economy as being “driven by consumers.” He talked about the overall effects of housing prices going up, of the adjustable rate mortgages already in place with increasing interest to pay, and of the change in rates on new mortgages being secured. He said generally the consumer confidence today is high and that people are banking more money.
He spoke of investments in fixed income products and the effect the increase in interest rates has on those products which are held by many retirees who depend on the income generated to live on. He said when the interest rates go up, fixed income goes down” and cautioned “be careful in buying bonds or other fixed income products because of the uncertainty in the market today.”
He described the U.S. economy as struggling, but still best of any country, and said he is more optimistic then pessimistic now. He emphasized again the need for more engineers and people with technical skills, and the need to encourage education to acquire needed job skills..
In conclusion he commented on Peoples Bank, describing it as a community bank geared to local responsiveness and quick loan service.