The naughty and nice economic outlook

As 2011 winds down, there has been a fair amount of optimism of late when it comes to the economy. But as we know there are road blocks, too, of course.

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As 2011 winds down, there has been a fair amount of optimism of late when it comes to the economy.

A few quick examples of this include the November unemployment rate dropping to 8.6 percent, decent retail sales numbers overall for holiday shopping season, lower gas prices (over the past few weeks anyhow), and November housing starts reaching their highest level in 19 months.

That last one is particularly encouraging as it has been said that one new house equals 19 truckloads of freight. Now, that is a nice boost for freight volumes to be sure.

But as we know there are road blocks, too, of course. Many of which are the inverse of what was mentioned above: a need for sustained job growth, consistent consumer spending, among others.

What’s more, the Department of Commerce earlier today reported that real GDP growth in the third quarter was estimated to have grown at an annual rate of 1.8 percent, following 1.3 percent GDP growth in the second quarter.

Despite the recent positive growth signs, that is a hard figure to overlook, as it is such a significant benchmark.

The economic issues we face are nothing new; we have been dealing with them head-on for literally years at this point. There have been countless times when I have written or been told we need to “wait until the second half of the year” or “next quarter” or something to that effect to gauge what the economy is doing. You can only do this for so long before you come to the conclusion that we are still in the weeds for a long while more.

What’s more, we are coming up on an election year, which typically is not viewed as a great platform for economic growth.

But, hey, the holidays are here and I certainly don’t want to be a Grinch writing about negative economic news for this entire post.

During the second half of this year, at pretty much every event I attended, the most carriers and 3PLs could not have been more optimistic about business conditions and demand. That was encouraging and bodes well, hopefully, for a strong 2012.

It is clear there is a long ways to get back to where we need to be, but at least things are trending in the right direction. Hey, we sure were not thinking that way at the end of 2009!

Here is to hoping for better days ahead. Happy Holidays from Newsroom Notes!

About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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