As part of his latest economic forecast, Dr. Barton Smith, who's director of the Center for Public Policy's Institute for
Regional Forecasting, says he's a believer now.
"I think you can now say that the recovery is real. I believe the recovery will continue for at least another 12 months. It's not the next 12 months that concern me as much as the next 4 years."
He says the Fed's biggest challenge now is to decide on what he calls an "exit strategy", a way to unwind massive bank reserves that were put in place to stimulate the economy and that could now cause inflation. He says unlike past downturns, Houston is now more linked to the U.S. and global economies and is dependent on those recoveries more than ever before.