NMMA Economic Overview, formerly Boating News Net, is a monthly report on boating and economic markets featuring industry and general economic indicators that impact your business.
U.S. Economic Indicators
In its final estimate, GDP growth in the first quarter was downwardly revised to 1.8% (from 2.4%) yet nonetheless stronger than the 0.4% growth recorded the quarter prior. Inventory investment (especially in manufacturing and farming) and consumer spending (although downwardly revised from the previous estimate) had turned up in Q1. That was offset by a slowdown in business investment in buildings, equipment, and software.
(Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis)
+ CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX
Consumer confidence continued to rise in June (up for the third consecutive month) to 81.4, the highest show of confidence since 2 months into the recession. Both short-term outlooks and current assessments were considerably more upbeat. The expectations index improved by 9 points suggesting that consumer confidence will continue to rise.
(Source: The Conference Board)
+ CEO CONFIDENCE INDEX
CEO confidence continued to improve in the second quarter, posting another 8-point increase in Q2. CEO’s outlook on both current and short-term business conditions were more upbeat. 60 percent of respondents says current economic conditions are better than they were six months ago and expect further improvement in the next six months. Globally, sentiments on Europe were relatively unchanged while assessments of business conditions in the U.S. and Japan generally improved.
(Source: The Conference Board)
+ UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
195,000 jobs were added to payrolls in June, the third consecutive month of job creation nearing 200,000. Although the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6%, more people were looking for work which was a good sign. Average hourly earnings grew 2.0% YOY in June, outpacing inflation at an annualized 1.75%. The broader (U-6) unemployment rate which includes discouraged workers had fallen to a 4.5-year low 13.8% in May but increased in June to 14.3%.
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
+ RETAIL SALES
Retail sales rose in June for the third consecutive month, up 0.4% to $423B (but below expectations of 0.8%). While consumers continued to spend on auto, furniture, and clothes, they’d cut back on purchases at restaurants, electronics stores, and general merchandise stores. Excluding auto, retail sales were up 0.2%.
(Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
+ PURCHASING MANAGERS INDEX (PMI)
The PMI rebounded in June following one month in contraction as new orders and production picked up. Employment, however, contracted for the first time since September, 2009. This reflects, in part, the European recession’s dampening effect on U.S. manufacturing exports.
(Source: Institute for Supply Management)
Housing starts rose 7% in May to an annualized 914K units, up 29% from a year ago. The increase was mostly driven by a 25% surge in construction of multifamily units reflecting an increase in demand for rental options. Meanwhile, building permits for single family homes rose by 1.8% to a five-year seasonally-adjusted, annualized high 622K.
Existing single-family home sales rose 5% to a near four-year high 4.6M in May. The inventory of available existing homes for sale dropped to a 5.1-month supply in May and is unlikely to grow unless new home construction ramps up quickly by an additional 50% according to the NAR. Buyer traffic is up 29% from a year ago and the median time on market for homes is at a record low.
New home sales continued to grow in May to a near five-year high 476K, up 29% from a year ago. Growing households, pent-up demand, and a limited supply of homes continue to put upward pressure on home prices. Mortgage rates have accordingly risen and most economists don’t expect that to impede the housing recovery.
(Source: National Association of Realtors, U.S. Census Bureau)
Boat Manufacturers Economic Indicators
+ WHOLESALE SALES
Wholesale shipments of traditional powerboats grew 12.8% (YOY) in May for NMMA’s control group of manufacturers. Calendar year to date, shipments were up 2% (YOY) overall while corresponding dollars were up 8.5% and average prices were up 13.2% (R12M YOY). Wholesale shipments of skiboats and aluminum outboards continue to rise in 2013 (up 13.2% and 6.2% YTD YOY respectively.) Together, they represent the bulk of traditional powerboats sold at wholesale and offset slowdowns in all other boat segments (which were coming off highs in 2012.) Cruiser volumes grew for the first time in 2013 (up 2.4% YOY in May) and while volumes were down 13.4% YTD compared to the prior year, production was still at the second highest level recorded since 2010.
(Source: NMMA Dashboard)
+ RETAIL SALES
Through the first quarter, estimates of traditional powerboat retail sales were up 4.3% (R12M YOY) with continued strength in sales of smaller boats (skiboats, outboard boats, jetboats, and pwcs up 9.4%, 4.8%, 27%, and 7.5% R12M YOY respectively) offsetting declines in sales of other traditional powerboat segments. Registrations of new boats were up (R12M YOY) across all regions, ranging from 1.7% to 11.8%. The South Atlantic region (which spans the Atlantic Coast from Delaware south to Florida and represents 24.3% of the market), led sales among the high-volume regions and was up 5.2%. Relative to wholesale shipments, retail sales of aluminum outboards (the majority of which are pontoons), turned down (on a R12M basis) for the first time in 4 quarters, suggesting dealers are starting to replenish inventories after consecutive quarters of running lean. Advance data indicates sales were up 6% (R12M YOY) through May for bellwether states.
(Source: NMMA New Powerboat Registrations Report, Info-Link)
Recreational boat and marine engine exports were down 7.9% totaling $2.2B for the rolling 12 months through May. Corresponding imports were down 9.4% totaling $2.0B. The trade surplus totaled $244.8M.
(Source: NMMA Export/Import Abstract)
For more information on working with news media on inquiries related to the state of the recreational boating industry, please contact NMMA's Vicky Yu.