Our first-quarter NetPlus-ITR Advisor newsletter for NetPlus members highlighted that leading economic indicators for 2017 are bright. NetPlus distributor and supplier members are benefiting from this economic growth; in the first quarter, purchases were up 8 percent.
This positive message was reaffirmed last month at the Industrial Supply Association’s annual convention, during which Institute for Trends Research principal Dr. Alan Beaulieu gave his annual economic update to attendees. His message: 2016 was a good year, despite the uncertainty, and 2017 looks even better.
Industrial production is moving up. Manufacturing production is increasing, with strong durable goods production into 2018. And despite a slowing in nondurable goods, he expects that category to improve, as well.
Global leading indicators, defense spending, foreign direct investment and oil prices are all going up – all very good signs for the health of the economy over the next year.
Construction markets are also healthy, with housing starts expected to be stronger in the second half of 2017. They are currently at an eight-year high. Non-residential construction is also looking bright, with dollars spent at a record high so far this year. Beaulieu expects a 7.7% growth rate for the year.
This economic growth is not a “Trump bounce,” he said. The positive signs started before the election. And that’s a good thing. It means that the growth is not subject to politics and is sustainable into 2018.
We’re still on track for a mild recession in 2019, Beaulieu said, but if distributors and manufacturers plan for the slowdown and implement management practices to maintain their bottom lines, the slowdown will have little effect.
We’ll continue to keep our members apprised of emerging economic and other industry trends via our blog and via the quarterly newsletter from ITR, available only to NetPlus members. Learn more about other NetPlus distributor and supplier benefits.