At least my takeaway from the 2010 NFPA Spring Conference at Laguna Beach, California was that we indeed have reason for optimism in the fluid power industry. One of my all-time favorite speakers, economist Alan Beaulieu (click on the title of this post for more information on Alan,) gave a presentation that confirmed my notion.
Alan stated that we are currently in a state of a sustainable recovery with continued mild improvement on the industrial side. Even though the U.S. industrial economy will remain somewhat dull, potential growth lies in our relationships with our foreign trading partners. He cautioned about the forecasts of some economists about doubling of exports but restated that foreign markets do offer U.S. manufacturers some reason for optimism.
Another very interesting claim by Mr. Beaulieu that makes a lot of sense is that unemployment lags so far behind the performance of an economy that it should not be considered an economic indicator. We are certainly seeing slow employment recovery in an otherwise improving economy.
Long term, the forecast remains that we will enjoy a strong 2011 and 2012 with things slowing down in 2013 followed by a mild recession in 2014 with a recovery in 2015. This seems like a more normal pattern than what we have experienced in 2009.
Industrial production in America has turned the corner and is coming back. The manufacturing index is up and our GDP is strong. These are all reasons for optimism at least in the short term. The fluid power industry is definitely in Alan's phase A and that is good news if you consider that phases A and B are all pointing upward.
Once again, Mr. Alan Beaulieu held his audience captive for an entire hour not only with very sound data and advice but a wit and sense of humor that make his sessions always enjoyable. I look forward to his presentation at the Industry and Economic Outlook Conference in August in Wheeling, Illinois.