Monday, September 12, 2011

Forecast for Economy and Construction Industry

One of America’s largest financial institutions sent a note to its clients in August saying, “The economy is only one shock away from falling into recession.”  Is this just hyperbole?  And what exactly constitutes a “shock?”

Could it be an ongoing accumulative European debt crisis?  Or perhaps a massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan that disrupt the global supply chain?  What about rising commodity prices, gas prices near $4.00 a gallon, banks that won’t lend money and stubbornly high unemployment that has weighed down the economy longer than any point in our post-World War II history?

These persistent troubles, and many more, were addressed by one of the nation’s most respected economists, at the 2011 GlassBuild America™ Expo in Atlanta.  Dr. Jeff Dietrich, a Senior Analyst with the economic consulting firm ITR, gave a broad overview of the U.S. economy and the construction industry – where it is now and where it is headed – in his presentation entitled “The Economy ~ 2011 and Beyond.”  Dr. Dietrich spoke Monday evening, September 12, during the 6th Annual NGA Glazing Executives Forum.  

Attendees at the Glazing Executives Forum heard Dietrich expand on these and other critical economic indicators as he painted a vivid picture of the U.S. economy in 2011 and 2012.  He explained how businesses are far better positioned today to navigate the uncharted waters of this tepid recovery than they were in 2008. 

During his presentation, Dietrich remarked: “The hard truth is that there will be no rapid change in economic conditions.  The present climate of uncertainty is disorienting as well as discouraging, but this is not the beginning of a double-dip.  Even though most construction sectors remain below 2010 levels, there is positive momentum in commercial construction.  Housing starts are climbing out of the mild secondary recession cycle and will head higher in 2012 and 2013.”
Jeff has been our anchor at the Forum for the last six years, and we’re delighted that he returned to give us his unique, industry-specific take on the economic outlook.  Some of our regular attendees say his presentation is reason enough for them to return to the event year after year.  His forecasts have proven to be invaluable in helping these executives develop their short- and long-term strategic plans. This year was no exception.
David Walker
VP Association Services

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