On May 24th Andrew Duguay of the Institute for Trends Research (ITR) gave an economic update by webcast to NFPA members, of which H&P is one. The thumbnail is that things remain very strong and should through 2013.
According to Duguay, there are no alarms for leading indicators and the economy is better than it was 1, 2, and 3 years ago and will continue to grow for the next two years. This is contrary to what you might hear on cable TV where I have often seen gloomier forecasts for our nation's economy. ITR is forecasting a GDP growth of 2.3% for 2012, 1.8% for 2013, and .1% for 2014.
While these are not overly optimistic numbers, they are not reflective or a recession. I am not sure that the cable stations ever really declared that the last recession ended. Of course, recession can officially be defined as consecutive quarters of negative growth, something we have not seen since 2009.
As for 2012, ITR is claiming (and I believe them) that there was or will be a soft landing in 2012 with an increase in the second half. This simply means that while acceleration of growth has slowed, it did not dip into negative territory. It will increase in the second half of this year.
The Purchasing Managers Index continues to stay above 50 which signals optimism for the manufacturing sector. Housing starts have increased but are still far below a million per year level which might be considered a benchmark, or was at one time. Foreclosures will not slow down until 2012 because the cycle that many mortgages follow.
All in all, the optimism continues.