What to expect from the economy in 2015

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ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - A surprise of sorts helped define 2014's economic outlook.

Bill Wilkes is an economics professor at Athens State University, and he admits, "I'll be honest with you, I never thought that we would see gas much below three-fifty. But then now it's almost two dollars."

Think about the effect cheaper gas has had on you, and know, that it spreads through the whole economy the same way.

Wilkes adds, "That's freed up a lot of money to be spent, and how much lower it's going to go, I don't know."

Among other things, the extra cash that did go to gas contributes to the big prediction for the new year for Wilkes, "Continued lowering of the unemployment rate."

But just know that the powers that meddle in the broader economy, like the Federal Reserve Board, may decide to pump the breaks this year with a lot on the line.

Wilkes goes on, "There's going to be a time window when the Fed is going to have to act, and if they wait too long then it's going to cause inflation. If they do it too soon, then it's going to throw us back into another recession."

So gas prices give us a lot to look forward to in the new year, but we've also got a major decision to look out for.