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Southwest Ohio’s economy will continue to grow in 2016, but at a slower rate than the national average — in part because of declines in steel production and federal spending, a PNC Bank senior economist said Tuesday.

Nationally, the U.S. economy is seeing a slowdown in manufacturing tied to both the stronger dollar, which is putting a drag on U.S. exports, and a downturn in energy production, said Gus Faucher, a PNC senior economist and vice president.

Faucher spoke at PNC’s Economic Forecast Luncheon, an annual event that attracted about 160 area business leaders to the Mandalay Banquet Center in Moraine.

Declines in oil and natural gas exploration because of falling gasoline prices have impacted steel producers such as West Chester Twp.-based AK Steel. This month, AK Steel announced plans to temporarily idle some operations at a Kentucky blast furnace in December.

Read more: Manufacturing strengths, weaknesses impact local economy in southwestern Ohio

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