Market fundamentals are strong, says R.L. Polk
U.S. market fundamentals are still positive, says automotive data firm R.L. Polk. Some highlights from a recent report:
* GDP rose by 2.5 percent in the second quarter.
* Unemployment dropped slightly for the second consecutive month in August, to its lowest point since December 2008. (The September jobless report, though, was weaker; and the government shutdown will likely show an increase in unemployment for October.)
* Inflation remains low.
* Consumer confidence, though down in September, in previous months hit record levels not seen since 2008.
* Through August, real estate was performing strongly, with August sales at their highest levels in more than six years. Since then, the real estate market has shown signs of weakness.
The Polk report notes that politics are threatening to destabilize the economy. Many economists believe the government shutdown will drag down this years GDP by 0.4 percent or so. Billions of dollars were wasted on lost productivity. And though the Washington area economy is not as dependent on the federal government as it used to be, its still a big regional employer. And the uncertainty is a problem for the local market, chief executive of staffing firm HireStrategy Paul Villella told the Washington Post.
This continued uncertainty going into January [the next budget deadline] is not giving anybody any great confidence about spending money and employing people, Villella said.Download Bulletin PDF