Rana Foroohar is "cautiously optimistic" about the chances for growth and the stability of the United States economy, but that is not to say she does not have a list of worries. As the opening keynote speaker at Financial Executive International's 23rd annual Current Financial Reporting Issues (CFRI) Conference in New York on Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, Foroohar plans to list the things that worry her (and the things that don't) about the global economy.
Foroohar is an assistant managing editor for Time magazine in charge of business and economic coverage for both print and online, and she also writes the publication's "Curious Capitalist" column. She graduated in 1992 from Barnard College, Columbia University, with a B.A. in English literature and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Here, she spoke in late September with Financial Executive Editor-in-Chief Christopher Westfall as a prelude to her CFRI presentation
How would you describe the global economy going into the tail end of 2013?
Foroohar: While the jobs numbers issued during the summer were not weak, they are lackluster. The reports point to the fact that we don't see a stronger rebound than we had been hoping for [for] so long. I think that speaks to this underlying issue of whether we are in a 2 percent growth economy or should we plan for a real robust recovery.
In July there was some real hope because there were better jobs numbers then, and there was a feeling that we were really starting to pull away in economic growth. And, of course, if you strip out the government sector from the private sector jobs numbers we would be in a more robust recovery.
But there is still this dampening effect in the economy, especially since the last couple of reports have been revised down and [there is] trouble bubbling in Europe again. You have bond spreads widening in Germany, the International Monetary Fund saying "well we not be out of the woods yet with the European debt crisis." You also have both political and economic problems in China and that has a huge impact on confidence with regards to U.S. exporters. In fact, exports were just starting to come back and now they have the combined worries of a slowdown in China and another wrinkle in the European debt crisis.
And I haven't even gotten to the really big risk story, which is the Middle East. What is that going to mean for the oil crisis? We are once again where we have been for the past two or three...