ECONOMIC INDICATORS – THE LATEST UPDATES
BOATING NEWS NET
Boating News Net is a monthly economic report produced by NMMA, which features industry and general economic indicators that impact your business.
Boating News Net reports that the economy grew 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2010, while consumer confidence spiked to an eight-month high in January. CEO Confidence was also improved, while unemployment fell to a 17-month low.
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Holiday Sales Climb 5.3%, Best Since 2004
According to an article in SportsOneSource Media posted January 15 that quoted the National Retail Federation, “retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) for December rose 5.3% unadjusted year-over-year and 0.5% seasonally adjusted from November. As a result, preliminary 2010 holiday sales, which combine the full months of November and December, rose 5.7% to $462 billion, surpassing the federation’s forecast of 3.3%. This represents the best holiday sales gain since 2004 when holiday sales increased 5.9%.”
NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said, "In spite of weakness in employment and rising gas prices, consumers showed they still have spending power which helped retailers when it counted most. Retailers did a tremendous job planning for the season by managing inventory and hitting the right price points that helped them tap into pent up demand."
Add NFR Chief Economic Jack Kleinhenz, "While the worst appears to be behind us, we are not out of the woods yet. This latest step-up in growth is a spark for increased business spending and hiring."
Other statistics released in the post included total sales for the 12 months of 2010 were up 6.6% from 2009, while total sales for the October - December 2010 period were up 7.8% from the same period a year ago. The October to November 2010 percentage change was unrevised from +0.8%.
Consumer Confidence Rebounds in January
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had dipped in December, increased in January. The Index now stands at 60.6 (1985=100), up from 53.3 in December. The Present Situation Index improved to 31.0 from 24.9. The Expectations Index increased to 80.3 from 72.3 last month.
Says Lynn Franco, Director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center: “Consumers have begun the year in better spirits. As a result, the Index is now near levels not seen since last spring (May 2010, Index 62.7). Consumers rated business and labor market conditions more favorably and expressed greater confidence that the economy will continue to expand and generate more jobs in the months ahead. Income expectations are also more positive. Although pessimists still outnumber optimists, the gap has narrowed.”
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more positive in January. Those saying business conditions are “good” increased to 9.8 percent from 7.7 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” was virtually unchanged at 40.4 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the job market was also more upbeat than last month. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” rose to 5.2 percent from 4.2 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined to 43.4 percent from 46.0 percent.
Consumers’ short-term outlook was more optimistic than in December. Those anticipating an improvement in business conditions over the next six months increased to 19.0 percent from 16.8 percent, while those anticipating business conditions will worsen decreased to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent. Consumers were also more optimistic about the job market. Those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased to 16.0 percent from 14.2 percent, while those expecting fewer jobs declined to 17.5 percent from 19.2 percent. The proportion of consumers expecting an increase in their incomes rose to 11.4 percent from 9.9 percent.
Gallup Poll Says January Consumer Confidence Up from December
Source: SportsOneSource Media (1/25/2011)
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index improved to -21 during the week ending Jan. 9, 2011 -- considerably better than December's -28, but essentially the same as the -22 of the same week in 2010, according to a recent survey conducted by the pollster.
Gallup's Economic Confidence Index consists of two measures showing improvement: one gauging Americans' perceptions of current economic conditions and the other, their economic outlook. In Gallup Daily tracking from Jan. 3-9, 42% of Americans called current economic conditions "poor" -- slightly fewer than the 44% average rating of December. The 53% who in January said economic conditions are "getting worse" was somewhat better than the 59% of December.
Upper-Income Americans Remain More Confident Than Other Americans: Gallup's Economic Confidence Index among upper-income Americans (those making $90,000 or more annually) showed improvement in the first week of this month, averaging -8 -- compared with a -18 average during December and January 2010, and -17 in December 2009. Confidence among lower- and middle-income Americans (those making less than $90,000 per year) also showed improvement, at -24 in early January. Before that, optimism among this group followed a similar, if more pessimistic, trajectory compared with the upper-income group -- beginning 2010 at -27 and ending it at -30.
What are the implications? While upper-income consumers remained more optimistic than their middle- and lower-income counterparts throughout 2010, each group's optimism was virtually the same at the end of the year as it was at the beginning. During the first week of January 2011, however, consumer confidence increased across the board, with a proportionately greater improvement among upper-income consumers, to -8, than among middle- and lower-income consumers, to -24.
This sharp improvement in consumer confidence in early January 2011 is a hopeful sign for the future direction of the economy. On the other hand, economic confidence showed a similar sharp improvement during early January 2010 and then reverted back to prior levels. The course that economic confidence takes in the weeks ahead may provide a key early indication of whether the economy in 2011 will be better than that of 2010.