June 10, 2018
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ted C. Jones, Chief Economist – Senior Vice President for Stewart Title Guaranty Company -- will deliver the opening keynote address at the 2018 Oklahoma Building Summit & Expo on Wednesday, Sept. 5th. Jones recently shared some of his perspectives in advance of the Building Summit. The following is the second of three blog posts from that conversation:
Q: Would you describe your speaking style?
A: I don’t know where you went to college, but I was never more disgusted with a monotone, boring speaker in my life. I swore I would never do that if I had a chance to speak or teach. First of all, as a speaker you have to be charged with accurate, reliable statistics that truly tell the story, not the story you want to tell but the story that is actually taking place. For example, I was speaking in Cleveland. What can I say about Cleveland? A couple years ago, I told them we have some good news. My good news was you didn’t live in Detroit. You have to be truthful. You cannot be a feel-good economist. Bad news is bad news. I kind of have this philosophy that bad news comes first because if you can get the bad news over with then you have time to reconcile about a way to fix this. My speaking style? I’m not a Will Rogers, but I guess I have a little dry humor like Will Rogers. I’ve read a lot of his material. I don’t use it. First of all, just give me the facts and don’t tell me your opinion. I will ask for your opinion if I want it. If they want my opinion, I’ll tell it. They may not like it. The facts up front. Don’t be feel-good. Be truthful. Adults can’t take economics in a large quantity of numbers, but I add a little bit of levity in between.
Q: How many speaking engagements do you make annually and what is the most frequent question you are asked by your audiences?
Probably 150 a year on average. The most frequent question? One of them is “when are interest rates going up?” Another, I had when I spoke at a group this morning. In the U.S., we have more jobs than at any time in history. The question this morning was “yeah, but what kind of jobs? Are they really good jobs or bad jobs?” The good news is the jobs we created in the last 12 months pay more on average than the jobs we had before. So actually for the first time since 2006, we are creating a little bit better jobs than we had. You go from 2006-2015, we were creating jobs, but most people were taking pay cuts. The good news is we are finally creating better jobs.