A Vote of Confidence, Survey Says

I was contacted last week by a friend in the industry who is an inventory and purchasing analyst for a manufacturing supplier company. She is a member of the American Purchasing Society (Aurora, Illinois) and she shared the organization’s latest newsletter, Professional Purchasing, with me. In it, the headline of an economic report caught my eye: “Consumer Confidence Higher than Expected."

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I was contacted last week by a friend in the industry who is an inventory and purchasing analyst for a manufacturing supplier company. She is a member of the American Purchasing Society (Aurora, Illinois) and she shared the organization’s latest newsletter, Professional Purchasing, with me. In it, the headline of an economic report caught my eye: “Consumer Confidence Higher than Expected."

This report states that while economists predicted that the Consumer Confidence Index would come in at about 99.0 for September, it in fact exceeded that number and landed at 104.1, signaling that consumers view our economy as favorable in condition and they expect to see further, though moderate, expansion in the months ahead. Good news, right?

Mind you, I do fear that the Fed, based on this report and other indicators, will decide to raise interest rates and this report does support my fear. Even with our Gardner Business Index for Moldmaking’s positive report in September, where it shows our industry expanding to its highest point since February 2015, I feel moldmakers and their suppliers will be put at a disadvantage if interest rates are raised. I think any gains we’ve seen will disappear and hiring will slow or perhaps cease. Readers, what do you think?

Then there’s the presidential election. I’ve blogged about this before, early on in the campaign season and now I come back to that expectation as I write this blog on the eve of the second debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Almost everyone I’ve talked to in the industry believes our recovery will depend on the outcome of the election and I’m inclined to agree. Business is soft for many moldmakers right now. Is it because their customers are waiting to see who will take the highest office before they invest in US production? Taxes and trade rate extremely high on the list of important issues, but there is so much mud-slinging going on that substantive issues aren’t being discussed. The “he said, she said” game is disheartening and shows just how far our country has sunk in the almost 240 years since our first president took office. It begs the question about whether either candidate can lead with the kind of courage, poise and selflessness that our founding fathers did. I welcome your input, MMT readers! Please reply to my blog here or email me.

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