Joining municipal and county representatives, A. Seddick Meziani, professor in the School of Business’ Department of Economics and Finance recently spoke at a Montclair Township town hall meeting on the state of the economy and how it is impacting the local community. Hosted by Montclair Mayor Jerry Fried, the meeting was held at the Montclair Municipal Hall and attended by more than 100 Montclair residents.
Meziani’s presentation outlined the historical and economic context for the current economic crisis and helped the audience better understand the present situation. “ Recessions preceded by episodes of banking-related stress have tended to be more profound and long-lasting historically,” said Meziani. “The ability to borrow has yet to be restored…and a person who cannot borrow is unlikely to buy the big ticket items that could revive consumer spending even if a generous fiscal policy provides the needed down payment.”
Although it won’t be confirmed until the necessary numbers are released in January, Meziani said that the U.S. economy is widely considered to be in recession. “ However it’s defined,” he stated, “falling house prices, the ongoing financial crisis, a deteriorating job market, and a rising dollar all indicate that the fourth quarter of 2008 won’t be any better than the third quarter, and most likely much worse.”
Other speakers at the informational meeting included Michael Taylor, Director of the Essex County Department of Housing and Community Development, and Montclair resident and community activist Sandy Pope.
Commenting on the meeting, Mayor Fried said “It’s important that the public understands not only the causes of the economic crisis but how it is impacting the lives of people in our own community.”
Representatives from the Montclair Township Departments of Planning and Community Development, and Health and Social Services, as well as several local private organizations including HomeCorp and the Human Needs Food Pantry were also on hand to provide additional information about various forms of assistance available to residents.