MUNCIE, Ind. — Ball State officials will give their annual economic forecast for the new year. 

They will give a presentation from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Horizon Convention Center, 401 S. High St., Muncie, IN 47305. Click here for more information. 

They are predicting slower growth in 2022 as we move past the pandemic in some ways 

Micheal Hicks, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, says labor shortages and extra demands for goods make it hard to forecast, but the combination of those things means there is a chance for more inflation on prices. 

“2022 is a year we should look at as a year where we get more back to normal. Less COVID, less uncertainty. But certainly not a period of astonishing growth like we saw back in the first half of 2020, where growth was 6 to 6.5 percent.” 

Hicks says there are two main factors at play for next year. The lingering effect of COVID and forced savings, including money saved from things like vacations not taken and government stimulus. 

The presentation Thursday will give an overall look at the economic projection for the nation, the state, and for our region of central Indiana. 

“We’re certainly not working off those big employment losses from the spring of 2020,” said Hicks. 

“At the same time the federal reserve is probably going to be tightening monetary policy, which causes interests rates to rise, so it will be harder to buy goods and services.” 

Hicks also says we’re likely to move closer to normal with less uncertainly about COVID, but much like weather forecasting, he says things aren’t exact, so that could change. 

“Economic forecasters, like weather forecasters are frequently wrong. The big uncertainty now is what’s going to happen with COVID? How long is it going to last? What’s it going to do to our spending? Are we going to continue to see new variants slow down the economy next year? And that’s really driving us.”

The event will also have panelists to discuss the evolving nature of work post-covid. Giving predictions of what the workplace could look like with things like remote jobs, and other potential changes.