In his presentation, “The Jumanji Economy,” Irani, who is also the vice president
of strategic partnerships and applied research at TU, discussed the national outlook,
inflation, interest rates, the labor market, climate change and the economic forecast
for Maryland and beyond.
“The reason that we call it ‘The Jumanji Economy’ is that there are a lot of surprises
ahead,” Irani says. “For Maryland’s economy, we have a strong possibility of slowing
down as the world’s economy impacts Maryland’s economy. For us, the federal budget
is really critical as 10% of our workforce is directly employed by the federal government
and 5% or 6% is indirectly, so if there’s a shutdown it does impact them.”
Here are five key takeaways from the forum:
The top economic indicators are mixed: The economy seems strong in some ways and on
the brink of recession in others, leaving the future uncertain.
High inflation is the single biggest economic issue we currently face. It’s affecting
everything from gasoline to rent to food prices. Some inflation can still be linked
back to supply issues (particularly with oil and the war in Ukraine) but is clearly
no longer just a supply chain problem.
Interest rates are being rapidly increased to fight inflation, but this can cause
its own problems. Mortgages and other major loans are quickly becoming expensive,
putting negative pressure on housing and other markets, and may ultimately contribute
to a recession.
The job market remains extremely tight, with far more job openings available than
people looking for work, at least according to official figures. This has led to widespread
Even with everything else, climate change remains one of the biggest long-term threats
to our economy.