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The University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research will host the Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Analysis Conference in Missoula this year.

The conference, "Opportunities and Challenges in the Pacific Northwest Hinterlands," will take place Thursday and Friday at the Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park. The event will bring together regional and international economists, analysts and students for economic sessions, presentations and exhibits.

"It is really useful to take a regionwide perspective on the challenges and opportunities for economic development that today's economy presents us," said Patrick Barkey, director of BBER and vice president of PNREC.

The gathering will consist of economists and policymakers from Pacific Northwest states, British Columbia and Alberta.

Keynote speakers will include Nigel Gault, the group managing director of Global Insight, who will open the event with a presentation on the national economic outlook. Other program highlights will include a panel of economists discussing the regional economic forecast, along with presentations on climate change, biomass, health care and energy.

PNREC is a nonprofit organization established to promote research and education on the economies of northwestern states and western Canada.

All sessions will be held at the Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park. A registration fee is required, and specific session rates are available. For more information, go to www.pnrec.org or call243-5113.

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