Travelers executive speaks in Wilton

Joan K. Woodward, executive vice president of Travelers and president of the Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Cos. Inc., spoke before 300 guests and employees of Fairfield County Bank, Fairfield County Financial Services, and Fairfield County Bank Insurance Services at Rolling Hills Country Club in Wilton.

Woodward shared her thoughts on the state of the global economy, the key policy debates taking place on Capitol Hill, and the critical issue of cybersecurity facing businesses.

Woodward discussed the United States economy and the factors driving its slow but steady growth, noting today’s 4.6% unemployment rate. She mentioned that GDP grew at a rate of 2.9% as of the third quarter this year, but actual real GDP is underperforming potential real GDP by $249 billion. She said that while the United States is projected to still be the largest economy by GDP in 2030, China will likely be a close second. She highlighted home sales as an essential part of economic growth, and noted that in 2010, new home sales bottomed out at 287,000 but have rebounded to 592,000 as of November 2016.