Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



Here’s to cautious (economic) optimism

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
February 18, 2011

If you read my blog often, you probably know one of my favorite things to write about is the economy.

That said, it is no secret that since, say, September 2008, when Wall Street nearly melted down, it has been one heck of an interesting ride. And one need not look too far before that to January 2008, when literally thousands of Americans were losing their jobs on a daily basis pretty much.

During the entire Great Recession, there was much discussed about our new reality and myriad questions about what the future may hold. Well, fast forward a little more than two years later and you can tell that things are better. Not great, just better. And to be honest, that is a good thing.

As I have discussed before housing and unemployment remain a drag on the economy, but there are other things happening that are positive, including higher U.S. export volumes, the slow process of credit availability becoming more prevalent, sequential increases in GDP growth, promising manufacturing data showing strong momentum, and favorable forecasting from the Federal Reserve this week calling for the output of goods and services in 2011 to grow in the 3.4-to-3.9 percent range, up from November’s estimate of 3-to-3.6 percent. Should that revised estimate hold serve, it would represent the best annual increase since 2004.

If those data points don’t excite you, please allow me to try one more.

Earlier this week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2011 economic forecast, and the news is good. According to the NRF, retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 4.0 percent from 2010.

This estimate comes on the heels of data released by NRF and the Department of Commerce last Monday, which cited improving retail sales for the seventh straight month, with Commerce reporting that January was the best month for retail sales since November 2007.

While there is a long way to go, there are some good signs and metrics out there. I know we are all very tired of the term “cautious optimism,” but it applies here once again.

It is a phrase that people tell me quite often, when I am conducting interviews or am on the road at an industry conference. The majority of people telling me to be cautiously optimistic are the one in the trenches every day moving freight and providing transportation and logistics services for shippers or are shippers, so I am inclined to stick with what they are saying.

Here’s hoping that they are right and that things continue to get better.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) August edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business saw its PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth, fall 1.6 percent to 51.1, following a 0.8 percent decline to 52.7 in July. Even with the relatively slow growth over the last two months, the PI has been at 50 or higher for 31 consecutive months.

Hackett observed in the new report that China’s economy has lost steam, with actual growth falling short of targeted rates, while the United States most recent second quarter GDP reading at 3.7 percent outpaced expected targets, even though it was negatively impacted by gains in manufacturing and retail inventories.

The proposed merger of Cosco and CSCL could spark further container consolidation

The average price dropped 4.7 cents to $2.514 per gallon, which now stands at the lowest weekly average price for diesel since July 2009, when it was at $2.542 the week of July 27, 2009, according to EIA data.

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported this week that U.S. trade with its North America Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico in June dropped 3.8 percent annually to $99.0 billion. This followed a 10.8 percent decline in May to $92.7 billion.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA