The U.S. housing industry sent generally positive signals last week, and that has implications for everyone who sells goods and services to homeowners, including boatbuilders and their dealers.
The marine industry is a global enterprise. Builders, dealers, marinas, equipment manufacturers and other businesses are found worldwide, and there are major boat shows on all continents.
It began after the November election — a wave of confidence that washed over consumers and business owners — and months later two important barometers of economic sentiment show that Americans continue to expect rising growth and prosperity this year.
President Donald Trump is off to a slow start legislatively and the prospects for the new president’s policy agenda appear uncertain, but the signals American consumers have been sending are sharp and clear.
Economy watchers who became accustomed to seeing monthly U.S. job gains near or above 200,000 were probably blindsided by the Labor Department’s report that 98,000 jobs were added in March — the fewest since last May.
Americans are earning more money, but they weren’t doing a lot of mid-winter spending, and one reason may have been that income tax refund checks from Uncle Sam were slow to arrive.
The U.S. housing market continues to show signs of a robust 2017, a development that dovetails nicely with recent monthly surveys that show consumer confidence is at a high level.
To boost the economy, President Donald Trump has said he wants “historic tax reform” that would benefit corporations and the middle class, a 10 percent increase in defense spending and $1 trillion worth of infrastructure improvements over the next decade.
The calendar was crowded last week with reports on everything from retail sales and housing starts to inflation and interest rates, but two reports released Friday were among the best snapshots so far of the economy two months into the new Trump administration.
The headline news in the Labor Department’s February employment report — 235,000 new jobs and a 4.7 percent unemployment rate — cheered economy watchers, but it was not the only positive trend to be found among the fresh figures.
The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates only twice in the last decade, but recent remarks from Fed chairman Janet Yellen and some of her colleagues have convinced economists and the financial markets that an increase is likely to come next week.