Sep 30, 2022 - News

JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon on the Triangle economy

Jamie Dimon sits during a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.

Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan, earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Jamie Dimon, CEO of the U.S.'s largest bank JPMorgan Chase, said "we should keep our fingers crossed" that an economic slowdown caused by rising interest rates and inflation doesn't lead to large job losses.

  • Dimon said there’s still a "small chance" that the Federal Reserve can steer the economy to a soft landing, where it calms inflation without causing a severe economic slowdown.

What they're saying: "I think the Fed is a little late in raising rates," he told Axios. "Mortgage rates hit six and a half percent today. That clearly is going to cool the buying of homes and prices."

  • Dimon said the Federal Reserve will likely need to keep raising rates to slow inflation more.

The big picture: Dimon said the recovery from the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic should not be discarded in the discussion. Unemployment was at 15% and now it's under 4%, he said.

  • "The important point is that unemployment is very low, almost lower than it's ever been in the history of keeping records like that," he said. "So you're going to see, eventually, job openings coming down."

Driving the news: Dimon was in the Triangle for a groundbreaking of a new building at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business and to visit one of its many new branches in the area.

  • JPMorgan is a relative newcomer to the region, opening its first Chase banking location in the state in 2019. It has since expanded across the Triangle and Charlotte area.
  • Chase has 14 branches in the Triangle and has plans to grow closer to 30 in the near future, Dimon said.
Jamie Dimon surrounded by Chase bank workers in Cary, N.C.
Jamie Dimon, center, talks to employees at a Chase Bank branch in Cary. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios.

Zoom in: Dimon told Axios in an interview in Cary that he sees growth "definitely continuing" in the Triangle — and more broadly the Sunbelt region — in the coming years.

  • "The weather is good. The government is trying to attract business," Dimon said. "You're going to have places like Raleigh/Durham, Nashville and Austin who are going to grow."
  • "And the loser, unfortunately, is going to be places like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, who have been both anti-business, have their crime problems and high taxes."

Dimon said the Triangle's universities are doing a better job of retaining talent.

  • Yes, but: He warned the Triangle has to continue improving or talent and opportunities will go elsewhere.
  • "You better think competitively … about jobs, economics, employment, crime, arts, and schools, for kids," he said. "If you're going to bring people, you've got to have schools for the younger kids. They've done a great job here [with that], I mean, all hats off to them."

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