But, I learned many things at the 2008 EOC and realized some things that were not obvious but came to light, or "dawned on me."
For one, the connection between mining and steel is now obvious. For several years, the mining industry has been strong and thus the mining equipment market has been a strong hydraulic market. I also have been aware that steel production has seen some very good years of late, partially due to manufacturing in the BRIC nations.
Put the two together. Increased demand on steel equals increased demand for mobile components. It takes lots of raw materials to make steel, some of which are mined. Thus the connection that seems obvious to most observers was not clear to me, but it took an economist to point it out to me.
On another note, we have had, at worst, a mild economic downturn in the past few years. This is despite a severe crises in the credit markets and the housing market. How could this be? It was made clear by Jim Meil at the EOC. Our weak dollar has lead to very strong exports, the strongest in many years, and this has offset the weak domestic housing market. Simple.
One final note, the recent stability of the agricultural equipment market is directly tied to energy. How? Well machinery is being bought and used to harvest corn and sugar for ethanol in many of our export markets and being bought in very strong numbers. Thus, the high cost of oil has actually contributed to the strength of yet another important hydraulic market, agricultural equipment.