Written by K.C. Conway, MAI, CRE | July/August 2018
For those keeping score during this third-longest economic recovery since World War II, the bulls continue to have a commanding lead over the bears. Despite volatility in the stock market and political uncertainty, economic growth is expected to remain steady through midyear, with momentum that likely will carry on well into the latter half of 2018.
Literally every economic measure, whether it is auto sales, gross domestic product growth, jobs numbers, or manufacturing data, was off the charts favorable for first quarter 2018. We finally have returned to all aspects of a 3 percent economy. Government’s initial estimates of first quarter 2018 GDP of more than 2.3 percent supports my forecast that it will turn out to be the best Q1 GDP in a decade. Backing up this outlook are strong Q1 corporate earnings. Corporations are knocking the cover off the ball in terms of earnings and growth – from disruptive technologies, like Amazon and Facebook, to equipment manufacturing and transportation, to old-school industries, such as Caterpillar and Union Pacific Railroad.
Some of the good forward-looking indicators of what lies ahead include jobs data, specifically the new monthly LinkedIn Workforce report that highlights skills-gaps by metropolitan statistical area as opposed to the flawed monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report. Other good measures include watching what small businesses and homebuilders are telegraphing. For example, the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Index shows that small businesses are optimistic in the wake of tax reform and regulatory relief. The index was under 100 for four straight years until President Donald Trump was elected, and has remained in a bullish 103-107 range through 1H2018.
Mike Stinson, a native of Monroe, Louisiana, is a graduate of Louisiana State University (LSU). A real estate licensee since 2004, Mike specializes in the sale and leasing of commercial real estate. A Designee member of the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM), Mike’s other professional memberships include Baton Rouge’s Commercial Investment Division (CID), the LSU Alumni Association, REALTOR Land Institute (RLI), and an affiliate member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
Saurage Rotenberg Commercial Real Estate is a member of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce (BRAC); the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce; the Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau; the Louisiana Commercial Data Base (LACDB); and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Several agents, on an individual basis, are members of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors® (SIOR), the Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute (CCIM); the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR); and the Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® Commercial Investment Division (CID).