In the closing month of 2018, we can reflect back on a very good year for the machinery industry. Sales and profits for the suppliers, most vendors, and dealers are all much stronger than any have seen for over a decade. Tax reform has been a major stimulus for all businesses, while deregulation of many constraining governmental policies of the past has been extremely helpful. The government’s support of energy expansion and independence is another refreshing positive that is contributing to the overall growth in the U.S. economy, which is now in the range of 3 – 4 percent annually rather than the 2 percent average of the past eight or nine years.
Jobs are being added in the U.S. and the unemployment rate of 3.7 percent is the lowest in many decades. Investments in new construction both residential and non-residential are growing and 2018 is ending with positive momentum moving forward into 2019. We are looking at sales growth in machinery sales exceeding 20 percent for many of the products we follow. We are looking for continued growth in sales of 10 – 15 percent for 2019 as we support reasonably stable interest rates and low inflation. Canadian economic conditions are following those in the U.S. as our northern neighbor’s business is closely tied to our expansion.
We understand the current concerns regarding tariffs and unfinished trade agreements with foreign partners, but those issues, we believe, will largely get resolved in reasonable time. Growth, profits and higher sales in 2019 may not match the bounce we have seen in 2018, but they will be very good and we look for a prosperous New Year ahead.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.