NMMA Releases Latest U.S. Economic Indicators

For Canadian marine industry professionals who either sell to, or buy from the USA, the following economic indicators released by the NMMA will be of interest. Some of the data is really encouraging and overall, our impression is that the American economy is starting to lift, buoyed perhaps by such factors as overall adjustment over time and the excitement of the upcoming elections.

Advance estimates indicate GDP grew 2.8% in the fourth quarter, primarily reflecting a surge in private investments.  Yet, the figure came in below analysts expectations of 3%.  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.  The Federal Reserve expects GDP to advance 2.2% to 2.7% in 2012.
(Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)

Consumer confidence moderated to 61.1 in January as consumer assessments of current situations fell 8 points and short term outlooks ebbed slightly.  Says Lynn Franco, Director of the Conference Board, "Recent increases in gasoline prices may have consumers feling a little less confident this month."  Overall, the January reading is still the second highest in 8 months.
(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 continued to decline in January to a near three-year low 8.3%.  The private sector added 257,000 jobs in January and has been posting gains for twenty-two consecutive months, totaling 3.4M jobs created since March, 2010.  Manufacturing employment has been growing for the fourth consecutive month, adding 257,000 jobs to payrolls in 2011.
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Retail sales increased 0.1% in December, totaling $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)

The PMI grew to a 7-month high 54.1 in January. Growth in new orders and exports accelerated while inventories continued to be drawn down.  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 4.6% in December to 4.1M. New home sales retreated 2.2% in December to 307,000. Housing starts declined 4.1% in December to 657,000.
(Source: National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau)

Light vehicle sales totaled 913,300 in January, up 9% on a rolling twelve month basis compared to a year ago. After adjusting for seasonal factors, annualized light vehicles sales totaled 14.2M.
(Source: Autodata Corp.)

Boat Manufacturers Economic Indicators

Through October, wholesale shipments were up 14% and corresponding dollars were up 23% for NMMA’s control group of manufacturers. Advance data indicates trends will continue through November.
(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 4.7% in 2011.         
(Source: NMMA New Powerboat Registrations Report, Info-Link)

Recreational boat and marine engine export volumes were up 13% in the third quarter of 2011, while dollars were up 3% from a year ago. Corresponding import volumes were up 4%; dollars were up 0.8%.  
(Source: NMMA Export/Import Abstract)

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