Naples, Fla. — When economist Bill Wood looks at the current U.S. economy, he sees some good things.
"We're at a four out of five on the economy," Wood said March 6 at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Naples. "Stocks aren't in a bear market, which sometimes predicts a recession."
Overall, Wood said he's optimistic about the U.S. economy, with expectations of GDP growth of 2-3 percent.
"I don't see the consumer bailing yet," said Wood, PN's economics editor and founder of Mountaintop Economics & Research in Greenfield, Mass. "Nothing indicates that we're in danger of serious decline."
"There will be another recession in the future, but it won't be this year and likely not next year. This cycle still has legs."
Wood added that although U.S. housing starts now are flat after several years of growth, they could be picking up in the spring quarter. The U.S. also is seeing its highest rate of employment in a decade along with wage growth, he said.
Production of plastics parts in the U.S. also is on the rise, even though new equipment purchases have led to lower utilization rates, Wood said. A slowing automotive market also will affect plastic products after several robust years.
Availability of labor could continue to be a problem in construction and other markets.
"There are a lot of imbalances with labor, but that's a good problem to have," Wood said.