During the Quad Cities Chamber's annual Economic Forecast held last week, Deere & Company's Chief Economist, Dr. J.B. Penn was joined by a panel of local industry leaders to discuss factors on the horizon that are impacting the economy.
Penn pointed to the following highlights about the U.S. economy:
- The U.S. is 26 quarters into an expansion, and economists think we're mid-cycle in the expansion.
- Since January of 2014 the U.S. has created an average of 236 million jobs per month. Despite this growth, we still have excess capacity in the labor market.
- The nation is expected to experience a 3% growth in the economy by the end of 2016.
- Consumer spending is up, which is significant because 67% of U.S. spending is by consumers.
- There is a rebound in the housing sector; 2015 was the best year for single family home sales since 2007.
- Since June 2014, the value of our dollar has increased 20% and is expected to peak mid-year. This is particularly positive for people in the export business.
- Global market volatility in early 2016 is due mainly to risks outside of the U.S. The Presidential elections lend to uncertainty as it is difficult to analyze what any of the candidates' policies my do to the economy.
Locally, panelists shared an overall positive sentiment, citing rising home and car sales and an increase in construction projects.