As we turn the corner rounding out the final quarter of the year, things seem to be slowing down. Talking to customers and vendors alike, we seem to be in the end of the year lull. The summer was very hot for many of us – and I am not referring to the weather. 🙂 I am referring to business activity. Often times, at this point in time of the year people tend to settle in on the sidelines and wait to see the ringing in of the new year to get back in the game. Of course, if something unusual is going on, that would cause a flurry of activity out of the norm for this place on the calendar. So, are we seeing the usual winding down or is this more indicative of the overall economy at large?

Here is the break out from the Fed:

https://www.newyorkfed.org/research/snapshot

Seems like things are pretty steady.

On top of this, we have very pleasing unemployment news:

http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/03/news/economy/october-jobs-report/index.html

The labor markets have tightened and the outlook is optimistic. Not on fire but steady.

I have maintained for a long time that after 8 years of many businesses folding their arms and not really participating in the economy, it would be expected that plenty of pent up energy would be in place just waiting for the proper environment. In general, businesses cannot position themselves well unless they have some idea of what to expect over the long haul. A pro business environment by a given presidential administration is definitely going to send the message that investment in growth will be rewarded. While flexing executive muscle through executive orders does send that message, the real heavy lifting must be done by congress.

Currently, congress has presented their initial stab at “tax reform”. Who knows what it will look like once it gets beaten up and chewed over so that remains up in the air.

On the flip side of all of all of this, I have heard from an (steel market) analyst that I talk to from time to time that he is concerned with the overall economic outlook and that things are heating up too quickly. I have no idea what he is basing this on but do we need to expect a bump in the road ahead of us?

As far as steel is concerned we see this:

http://marketrealist.com/2017/10/us-steel-mills-are-pushing-for-price-hikes/

Are the mills attempting to get ahead of an expected slide? Or are they really in a position to get get more for what they produce?

Basically, we have no clue on what to expect. I’m sure that this makes you really feel comfortable about the overall market outlook. 🙂

In any event, we will stay tuned and see what may come….

Ben