NMMA Monthly Economic Report Shows Improving US Picture

The NMMA in America just released their March 2012 Boating News Net, their monthly economic report which features industry and general economic indicators that impact your business. We view the news as being largely positive.

U.S. Economic Indicators

The US economy grew 3% in the fourth quarter, primarily reflecting upward revisions to consumer spending for services and business investment in structures.  The economy grew 1.7% in 2011.  The slowdown mainly reflects the largest annual decline in government spending since 1971.  GDP grew 3% in 2010.

(Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)

US Consumer Confidence surged 9 points in February to a 12-month high, 70.8, as consumer assessments of both current situations and short term outlooks posted significant gains.  More consumers expect jobs to increase in the short-term while less consumers anticipate jobs to decline in the months ahead.

(Source: Conference Board)

CEO confidence rose in the fourth quarter to 49, as current assessments and short-term outlooks of both their own industries and the economy improved from the previous quarter. 32% of CEOs expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to 19% the prior quarter. Firms plan to increase prices an average 1.8%, down from 3.3% a year ago.

(Source: The Conference Board)

The unemployment rate was unchanged in February at a near three-year low 8.3%.  The private sector added 227,000 jobs in February and has been posting gains for twenty-three consecutive months.  Manufacturing employment has been growing for the fifth consecutive month.

(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

US Retail Sales increased 0.4% in January, rebounding from a weak holidays season and totaled $401B.  For all of 2011, total retail sales hit a 12-year high, up 7.7% from a year ago. 

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)

Growth in manufacturing slightly moderated in February; PMI ebbed to 52.4.  New orders, production, employment and exports continued to grow though at a slower pace.  A PMI greater than 50 indicates the economy is generally expanding.       
(Source: Institute for Supply Management)

During its last meeting in January, the FOMC decided to maintain its Fed Funds rate target between 0% and 0.25% and anticipates holding them there through at least late-2014. Inflation has been subdued in recent months while long-term inflation expectations remain stable. The FOMC plans to extend the average maturity of its security holdings and adjust its holdings portfolio of agency debt, mortgage-backed securities, and Treasury securities as appropriate.

(Source: Federal Reserve)

Sales of existing single-family homes grew 3.8% in January to 4.1M. New home sales retreated 0.9% in January to 321,000. Housing starts increased 1.5% in January to 699,000.

(Source: National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau)

Light vehicle sales totaled 1.1M in February, up 11% on a rolling twelve month basis compared to a year ago. After adjusting for seasonal factors, annualized light vehicles sales totaled 15.1M.

(Source: Autodata Corp.)

Boat Manufacturers Economic Indicators

In 2011, wholesale shipments of traditional powerboats were up 17% and corresponding dollars were up 24% for NMMA’s control group of manufacturers, compared to a year ago.

(Source: NMMA MSR)

New powerboat registrations were down 2.5% on a rolling 12-month basis through September, compared to a year ago. Advance estimates indicate sales of bellwether states will be up 4.8% on a rolling 12-month basis through January.         
(Source: NMMA New Powerboat Registrations Report, Info-Link)

Recreational boat and marine engine export volumes were up 8% in 2011, while dollars were up 0.6% from a year ago. Corresponding import volumes were up 20%; dollars were up 15%.  
(Source: NMMA Export/Import Abstract)

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