On the Road with ITR Economics

  • by itradmin - Thu, 04/13/2017 - 10:12

There is more optimism in the business groups I have contact with, more than I have seen in quite a while, at least. It is great to see business leaders looking forward to the future as they see orders pick up. Business confidence is a fairly mediocre indicator of the economic future, but even with that caveat, the latest input says that the US economy will be expanding through the rest of 2017. It would be normal, and indeed it is expected, that we will see confidence begin to wane later this year or in early 2018.

Profits are of more significance, at least to me, than confidence. Profits are an objective measure since profits can be spent. The latest US Corporate Profit figures have reached $2.150 trillion, up 9.3% from the year-ago level, and are rising. Profits are 3% below the fourth-quarter-2014 record high, but they are improving; as an objective measure of business performance, it means good things for business, employment, and economic growth. Profits are improving in the financial sector and, indeed, are at a record high. Manufacturing profits are 17.8% higher than this time last year and have been rising for the last year.

The road ahead looks good!

Alan Beaulieu