THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FOR THE U.S. AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

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1 THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK FOR THE U.S. AND THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY by William F. Ford, Ph.D. Weatherford Chair of Finance Middle Tennessee State University presented to The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress at The Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas Irving, TX April 24 th, 2009

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3 THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK After growing for over 6 years (since 2001) the U.S. economy has slowed sharply (since Dec. 07) and is now in month 17 of the recession. A prolonged housing downturn, subprime mortgage problems, stressed financial industries and declining retail and auto sales trends are major factors driving the recession. The economy is steadily losing jobs and the unemployment rate has reached 8.5% this spring. Corporate profits are also shrinking causing investment spending to weaken. Inflation has declined sharply and has temporarily become a secondary monetary policy concern. The Bush Fiscal Stimulus Program ballooned the Federal deficit to $455 billion in FY The Obama administration s program might triple this in FY There are additional forecast risks. The Outlook for the construction industry is cloudy. Some of President Obama s initiatives will impact the construction industry. 3

4 REAL GDP GROWTH (Year over Year changes) Percent Change % 4.2% 3.5% 2.9% 2.0% 2008** GDP: $14.26 Trillion Real GDP: $11.65 Trillion 1.1% *Source: W.F. Ford Associates; **BEA: 2007 current dollar GDP and real (chained 2000) dollars as of 11/25/ %* 4

5 REAL GDP GROWTH RATES (%) * 2009* REAL GDP (YOY) Consumption Business Fixed Invest Productivity Growth Residential Investment Government Purchases Exports Imports * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Inventory Change ($billions) $19.6 $46.3 -$3.7 -$21.1 -$52.5 *Source: W.F. Ford Associates. 5

6 RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION Housing Starts Millions of Units 2.5 Forecast*: 2009: 0.63m *Source: W.F. Ford Associates forecast 6

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8 PACE OF PAYROLL GAINS Non-farm payrolls, YOY Change Annual Average Percent Change 6% 4% 2% 0% -2% -4% Forecast*: 2008: -0.9% 2009: -2.1% * Sources: W.F. Ford Associates forecast and BLS data. 8

9 U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE U.S. Labor Force** (millions) 10% 9% 8% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0% Employed Unemployed (Q1) % 5.5% 5.1% 4.6% 4.6% 5.9% 9.0% * * *Sources: W.F. Ford Associates forecast and BLS data. 9

10 AFTER-TAX CORPORATE PROFITS Percent Change 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% -5% -10% -15% 32.6% 14.8% 13.9% 11.8% 2.6% -4.0% -8.4% -10.2% * Source: *W.F. Ford Associates forecast. 10

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12 FEDERAL DEFICIT (Fiscal Year deficits) FY FY FY FY FY FY FY 02/ 03 03/ 04 04/ 05 05/ 06 06/ 07 07/ 08 08/ 09 * -$100 -$300 -$500 -$374 -$413 -$319 -$248 -$163 -$455 $ Billions -$700 -$900 -$1,100 -$1,300 -$1,500 Source: *W.F. Ford Associates forecast; ++includes stimulus spending. -$1,

13 U.S. NET EXPORTS AND MERCHANDISE TRADE BALANCE: $0 -$100 -$ * $ Billions -$300 -$400 -$500 -$600 -$700 -$800 -$900 -$509 -$535 -$601 -$650 -$714 -$787 -$759 -$838 -$710 -$809 -$388 -$677 -$339 -$510 Net Exports (including Services) Merchandise Trade Balance *Sources: BEA and W.F. Ford Associates forecast. 13

14 ENERGY OUTLOOK Quadrillion Btu Total Primary Energy Consumption* (Quadrillion BTUs) U.S. Japan China India Central/South America Europe History Projection *Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy, World Energy Outlook (All sources: Oil, Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear) 14

15 INFLATION OUTLOOK Mar. 09 vs. Mar. 08** CPI (all items): -0.4% CPI (core items): 1.8% 4.0 CPI (YOY) PCE LESS FOOD & ENERGY (YOY) PPI (finished goods): 6.7% In fla tio n R a te (% ) % 3.8% 2.3% 1.8% The Fed s Comfort Zone 1.2%* 0.9%* *Sources: W.F. Ford Associates and BLS; **Not seasonally adjusted 15

16 FED FUNDS TARGET RATE 16

17 Percent INTEREST RATE OUTLOOK Effective Fed Funds Rate 10 Yr T-Note Forecast* 2.5% 2.2% 1.1% 0.5% Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q * Sources: Historical data from St. Louis Fed (FRED); Forecast from William F. Ford Associates. 17

18 GDP FORECAST RISKS Expanded Financial, Stock Market, Auto & Other Industrial Crises? A Prolonged Housing/Subprime Mortgage and Construction Loan Markets Meltdown? Sharper Increases in Auto, Credit Card and Home Equity Line Delinquencies? Renewed U.S. Dollar Weakness? Stronger Negative GDP Trends in 2009? Resurgence of Oil Prices and Energy Costs? International Instability/Terror Risks? 18

19 2009 FIRST HALF AIA CONSENSUS CONSTRUCTION FORECAST PANEL McGraw-Hill Construction Global Insight Moody's Economy.com FMI Reed Business Information Consensus Forecast (% change) Forecast (% change) Forecast (% change) Forecast (% change) Forecast (% change) Forecast (% change) Forecast (% change) NONRESIDENTIAL TOTAL Commercial Total Office Retail/Other Commercial Hotel Industrial Total Institutional Total -9.6 N/A Health Education Religious N/A Public Saftey -4.5 N/A Amusement/Recreation N/A

20 THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY OUTLOOK If this recession plays out like previous ones, there still are significant declines ahead. In the early 1980s recession, nonresidential construction activity fell by almost 28 percent before growth resumed, a figure exceeded in the early 1990s recession (31 percent) and almost matched in the early 2000s downturn (25 percent). Kermit Baker, Chief Economist, AIA Consensus Construction Forecast. 1/16/09. Particularly hard hit will be the commercial and industrial categories. With many businesses seeing falling profits and difficulties in obtaining credit, expansion plans have been put on hold until the economic outlook improves. Institutional construction should fare better than its commercial/industrial counterpart as the healthcare and education sectors are expected to continue to expand through much of this downturn. Kermit Baker, Chief Economist, AIA Consensus Construction Forecast. 1/16/09. 20

21 THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY OUTLOOK Last quarter we described the outlook for construction as the good, the bad and the ugly. Now that 2008 is past, the outlook is just plain ugly. Nonresidential construction will plummet and begin at least three years of contraction. The bottom in terms of both dollar volume and percent decline will not be until Residential construction is not expected to recover until FMI s Construction Outlook: First Quarter 2009 Report. 3/10/ is going to be a tough year for the North American construction industry. While no one has perfect knowledge about the future and there are certainly serious economic issues yet to be faced, some indicators hint that our survey may have been taken at or near an economic low point. It s possible that a slow recovery is underway or is about to begin. Let s hope so. A government stimulus package that includes an infrastructure revitalization component could go a long way to helping this industry. Ron Riecks, General Manager, Wells Fargo Construction. 1/15/09 21

22 OBAMA ADMINISTRATION INITIATIVES Increased Infrastructure Spending Health Care Reforms Green Technology Initiatives Reduced Payroll Withholding Rates Increased Financial Market Regulations 22

23 WILLIAM F. FORD, PH.D.* Professor William F. Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance in the College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University. He formerly served as Dean of the Business School at the University of Denver; President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; President of First Nationwide Bank; Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank; and as Executive Director and Chief Economist of the American Bankers Association. Dr. Ford often appears on nationwide and regional TV and radio business news shows as an economic policy expert and served as TeleCheck s Senior Economic Advisor from He has also authored or coauthored about 100 articles in business and academic journals, has served on the boards of six corporations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NABE, the National Association for Business Economics. A veteran of the U.S. Navy Submarine Service, Dr. Ford earned his B.A. in economics (summa cum laude), from the University of Texas; his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Program at Stanford University s Business School. He is an elected Fellow of both the Phi Beta Kappa Society and NABE. *Contact information: or (615)

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