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Paul Otellini used his keynote presentation at the Intel Capital Global Summit to focus on his view of worldwide economic trends instead of focusing on Intel's vision or its investment plans.
Otellini, Intel's president and CEO, engaged in a question-and-answer presentation with Tom Campbell, Dean of the Law School at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and former U.S. Congressman, on how U.S. and world economics are impacting the business environment while touching on issues that are at the center of the economic debate in the upcoming U.S. presidential elections without mentioning the elections themselves.
The Intel Capital Global Summit is an annual event that brings companies in which Intel Capital has invested together with potential investors, customers and partners.
Otellini said that, of all the economic indicators that are regularly discussed, the scariest one is the unemployment rate.
"You need 350,000 jobs [to be created] per month to get back to normalcy, and we're not getting that," he said.
Otellini also said he is closely watching the drop in consumer sentiment and in CIO sentiment, noting that the rise in productivity that had been seen until recently seems to have run its course, which is part of the normal cycle. However, he said, CIOs are worried about the future.
When asked about the Federal Reserve Bank's easing of the money supply as part of the current third round of quantitative easing, Otellini said he is concerned about what that will do to the business environment. "None of us would run our own companies or our personal lives based on the Fed," he said.
He explained that the expanding money supply is keeping borrowing costs low, but that money markets, now flush with cash, are remaining on the sideline and are getting little or no rate of return on their holdings. The result, he said, is a lot of money coming to the U.S. but not being put to work. "It's a shame," he said.
In addition to all that capital sitting in the U.S., the country also has a well-trained and highly educated workforce as well as a stable political environment, giving it a unique opportunity to turn the economic discussion away from the problems of outsourcing and instead focus on bringing jobs back home, Otellini said.
"It's important for leaders to speak out. ... We need to reduce the uncertainty and bring the money back," Otellini said.