ECONOMIC FORUM IMAGE

Up-to-date economic data and insights from reliable sources never go out of style — and might be more important today than ever before.

For those seeking information, the 25th annual University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Economic Forum will take place next week and offer expert outlooks on the local, state and national economies.

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The free event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday and, for the second consecutive year, will be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information — including an agenda and registration form — can be found at uccseconomicforum.com, where the event will be shown live.

The forum began in 1997 as a relatively small event that was known then as the Southern Colorado Business Economic Outlook Forum.

Just 225 people assembled at The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs for an event organized by UCCS faculty members Tom Zwirlein and Jeff Ferguson and local businessman Ron Chernak.

The event has grown each year to become a go-to outlet for business people, government officials and area residents seeking to glean valuable economic information.

Today, the forum has become all the more relevant because of conflicting information often found on social media and other platforms, said Tatiana Bailey, an economist and the forum director.

Before social media, people sometimes would hang on to a tidbit of information that wasn't necessarily accurate, she said.

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"Now, with the proliferation of social media and people getting things fed to them on their phone that they want to hear, as opposed to necessarily being truth, it's super important for businesses and government and individuals to be able to get true data from sources that we know are large sample sized," Bailey said.

"They're government sourced or they're from think tanks that are tied to universities or nonprofits, so they're not putting biased data out there," she said. "I think it's super, super relevant and maybe a little more so now because of all the misinformation that's out there."

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Next week's forum will feature a keynote address, "Macroeconomic and Market Conditions Outlook," by Marci McGregor, managing director and senior investment strategist with the chief investment office of Bank of America.

Bailey will follow with a presentation that examines the economic outlook and recovery opportunities for the state and Pikes Peak region.

The forum also will feature a video with the event's founders, who will discuss how it began 25 years ago; another with UCCS business professor Don Warrick, who's marking his 50th anniversary at the school; and a video by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who will provide an overview of past and current conditions in the city.

A question-and-answer session will conclude the forum.

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