There's a new set of economic indicators out this week prompting more attempts to forecast the outlook for U.S. businesses, but the best advice may be to simply wait for more data.
On July 12, reports for both on wages and inflation rates were released. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a rate of about 3 percent. That compares with a rate of 4 percent a month ago and 9 percent in 2022.
The BLS also noted in a different report that hourly wages ticked up slightly — by 0.2 percent — for June 2023. When compared with wages from June 2022, the average hourly pay was up 2.2 percent.
Manufacturing would seem to be in a relatively good position at this point to avoid a widespread recession. Brian Long, director of supply chain management research at Grand Valley State University's Seidman College of Business in Allendale, Mich., says that the most recent survey of manufacturers in that area indicates "mostly positive signals despite expectations around the country of an economic slump."
That's the same view taken by Bill Wood, PN's economics editor, who noted during the June Numbers That Matter Live webinar that he had never forecast a recession — even as many others did — and he doesn't expect one now.
"The current trends are mostly positive, but they need to persist for a while longer," Bill noted after the latest inflation numbers were released. "The economy has not yet returned to 'completely recovered.' We are not yet in a situation of reliable price stability.
"Plenty of downside risk remains in the outlook, so we must remain both patient and vigilant for another two or three quarters," he said.
It sounds like the same view GVSU's Long has, based on a story from our sister paper Crain's Grand Rapids Business.
"With all of these vectors going in different directions, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to accurately predict where the economy is going," Long said.