USM to Host Economic Outlook Forums in Hattiesburg, on Gulf Coast

January 08, 2018

Economic trends and forecasts will be the focal points during the Economic Outlook 2018 Forum hosted by The University of Southern Mississippi at two different venues this year – the Hattiesburg campus on Jan. 25, and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) on Feb. 1.


The USM College of Business and Trent Lott National Center are coordinating the annual forum that brings together experts from banking, finance, and academia to explore a number of issues and research related to the economic outlook for 2018. The First — a National Banking Association is serving as title sponsor.

The Hattiesburg forum is set for 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Thad Cochran Center Grand Ballroom. The MGCCC forum will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the college’s Hospitality and Resort Management Center in Gulfport.


“It is a great tradition to hold economic outlook forums that bring faculty and organizational leaders together,” said Dr. Faye Gilbert, Dean of the USM College of Business. “This is the tenth year that USM has held this event in Hattiesburg and the second year for us to host the event for our coastal communities. We have two remarkable speakers and we look forward to seeing the business community gather at the beginning of this year to consider the economic landscape at the national and local levels.”

Keynote speakers for the forums are Dr. Jim Glassman, Managing Director and Head Economist for Commercial Banking, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; and Dr. Darrin Webb, Chief Economist, State of Mississippi.


From 1979 through 1988, Glassman served as a senior economist in the Research & Statistics and Monetary Affairs departments at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC. While there, he analyzed and forecasted inflation, labor market developments, the Federal Reserve’s operating strategies and interest rate markets, and he developed monetary and reserves projections. He joined Morgan Guaranty in 1988 and Chemical Bank in 1993, which, through a combination of mergers, became JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Webb became the state economist and director of the University Research Center in July 2010. The University Research Center works with the Department of Revenue, the Legislative Budget Office, the Legisla­ture, the governor’s administration and other agencies on matters concerning the state’s economy. As state economist, Webb works directly with the state revenue-forecasting group, serving traditionally as the chair.  He also oversees the state’s econometric model which forecasts the state’s economy.

M. Ray “Hoppy” Cole, president and CEO of The First — A National Banking Association, says that collaboration with USM on the forum constitutes a win-win for both institutions.

“The Economic Outlook forum continues to grow every year, and we expect another large turnout,” said Cole. “It gives us an opportunity to visit with people from the Gulf South region, to find out what is going on and how our company can be of service. We believe the conference gives those in attendance a solid foundation of economic expectations upon which to plan the upcoming year.”


The forum is free and open to the general public. Seating is limited and those planning to attend should register as soon as possible here: