The Lindale native, addressing a record-setting crowd at the Green Acres Baptist Church CrossWalk Conference Center for the 29th annual economic outlook event, said the area’s economy will mirror that of the state in coming years.
Perryman kicked off his appearance at the Tyler Chamber of Commerce event with an analogy, likening the feel of today’s economy to that of waking up in the morning and feeling under the weather.
“That’s kind of where the economy is right now. We just don’t feel good,” he said. “There is not a lot of momentum. There’s not a lot of excitement. There are so many things that are making people nervous.
“When we don’t want to do something, it slows us down.”
Perryman attributed stagnant to slow economic growth nationally on global uncertainty, fueled by instability in Europe and Middle East as well as U.S. debt and health-care reform.
European countries, with their financial crisis, represent the biggest worry source, he said.
“It’s a pretty difficult time there,” he said. “It’s very hard to herd this group.”
However, he expects those nations to come up with “a muddle-through deal” within six weeks on economic accord.
As for turmoil in the Middle East and leadership turnover there, Perryman said uncertainty rests on fears over a possible oil-supply interruption.
However, the uncertainty is unwarranted because regardless of the leadership that emerges, those nations’ economic survival depends on oil sales, so an interruption is unlikely, he said.
“We’re trying every way we can to shoot ourselves in the foot,” he said.
However, he projected a 3.5 percent annual growth in the next five years, compared with the 2 percent that has been the norm of late, he said.
Economic prospects for Texas, which weathered the storm of the recent recession better than most of the nation, look even better, he said.
“The Texas economy has done quite well recently,” Perryman said. “Not a week goes by when we don’t rank No. 1 in something.”
He noted that while the recession killed 9.5 million jobs nationally, with only 4 million of those jobs coming back since then, Texas lost only 400,000 jobs but has created 650,000 in recent years.
He projected 4.7 percent annual growth in the state’s gross product by 2017.
As for the Tyler area, the diverse economy, bolstered by a strong local banking industry, should help keep pace with the state, he said.
In materials handed out to the crowd, Perryman reported that he expects the biggest economic games in local sectors such as services, trade, information and manufacturing.
The keys to future economic prosperity, he said, depend on innovation, fostering a fertile business climate and improving the education system to keep intellectual pace with rapidly developing technology.
Before Perryman’s appearance, Mary Elizabeth Jackson, Tyler chamber board chairwoman, noted that the event had drawn a record crowd of more than 600.
Ms. Jackson also announced the creation of a yet-to-be-named program designed to energize community leaders and enhance community networking.
“The details are still being worked out,” she noted. “It’s a collaboration to enhance what we’re already offering.”