Buffett, Ballmer: US economy to avoid double dip

Business titans line up to challenge gloomy reports on America's prospects

A dynamic and powerful US economy will not only avoid a double-dip recession but will continue to dominate the global scene, the most powerful leaders of corporate America predicted, dismissing gloomy assessments of the country's decline.

In a string of speeches, presentations and interviews at a development conference organised in the mountains of Montana, business leaders led by Warren Buffett and Jeff Immelt described how their own companies showed little sign of the pessimism that dominates public and political debate.

And Mr Buffett, feted as the Oracle of Omaha for his investment wisdom, declared himself "a huge bull" on the US. "This country works. The best is yet to come."

Mr Buffett and Mr Immelt run the two largest conglomerates in the US – Berkshire Hathaway and General Electric respectively – and both told an audience of financiers, executives and entrepreneurs at the Montana Economic Development Summit to look beyond gloomy headlines.

"We will not have a double-dip recession at all," Mr Buffett said. "I see our businesses coming back almost across the board. I've seen sentiment turn sour in the last three months or so, generally in the media, but I don't see that in our businesses. I see we're employing more people than a month ago, two months ago."

As the effects of the credit crunch dissipate, banks are more willing to lend to small businesses than is popularly credited, he said, citing the example of Wells Fargo, the US banking giant in which Berkshire has a stake. "It's night and day from a year, year and a half ago," Mr Buffett told the audience via a video link. "I know Wells Fargo would love to have $50bn more loans now. Go in and talk to the banker."

Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney, told the conference that movie-making remained a powerful industry which could drive the US economy. "We're still in growth mode," he said. "We're just at the beginning of the beginning of the change. What you're seeing is an explosion of choice. Today is not only a multi-channel environment, but we have the opportunity to be entertained on the internet, there are more devices to access entertainment, and there is more control over how you're entertained and what you're entertained by. One industry to look at is the movie industry, because we're a great exporter."

Earlier, Steve Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, also contributed to the upbeat tone, saying that technological advances would continue to be made in the US, and that the US would therefore continue to be a world leader. "I am very enthusiastic what the future holds for our industry and what our industry will mean for growth in other industries," he said. "All areas of science today are moving forward more quickly. The speed of scientific breakthrough is accelerating."

Mr Immelt also pointed to improving orders across GE's businesses as evidence that the real economy was improving. The company is a major world player in industries as diverse as healthcare equipment, wind turbines, household appliances and jet engines, as well as finance.

After an "insane" period where the US economy was based on internal consumer spending, funded by debt, he said, the country should now focus on exports. American entrepreneurs would seize the moment. "Anger is not a strategy. Anger does not create growth. Only optimism creates growth," he said. "Be the contrarian. Everyone is mad today. Be happy."

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Data Analyst/Planning and Performance – Surrey – Up to £35k

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

IT Systems Business Analyst - Watford - £28k + bonus + benefits

£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...

Markit EDM (CADIS) Developer

£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker