Economic recovery underway?

Economic data continue to suggest, albeit tentatively, that an economic recovery is underway. Further, although the economic slowdown has affected all of us, it doesn't seem that a severe blow is in the offing for the landscape trade, as indicated by recent economic data:

-- The US leading index of economic indicators increased by 1.2% in December 2001. Consumer confidence, one component of the Index, rose sharply in Dec., following three straight monthly declines after the Sept. 11 attacks.

-- Unemployment actually dropped slightly in January, though this news was tempered by the fact that total employment fell. Still, wide consensus among economists suggests that the unemployment rate will continue to rise somewhat well into any economic recovery.

-- Gross domestic product is expected to increase slightly for the fourth quarter 2001, following a decrease in the third quarter. (These are advance estimates…official stats are not yet released.)

--In news that is more directly related to the landscaping trade, construction put in place in Dec. 2001 was virtually the same as the prior month, and 3 percent higher than Dec. 2000.

-- Privately-owned housing starts in January were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,678,000, 6 percent above the December figure of 1,579,000 and is 1 percent above the January 2001 rate of 1,666,000.

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