Roger Harris: Reasons to expect growth in 2012

Roger Harris

Even as Republican presidential candidates bicker over who's a true conservative, it's impossible to miss the basic theme of the GOP campaign.

They all agree the economy is circling the drain and good times will return only when the GOP retakes the White House.

It's a shame the economy isn't cooperating with their campaign storyline.

The truth is the economy is getting back on its feet.

Is it growing fast enough? Definitely not. Unemployment remains high and some companies continue to cut jobs. But there are solid reasons to expect growth in 2012.

Consider these recent developments:nConsumer confidence is up sharply.The Consumer Confidence Index jumped about 25 points in the last two months of 2011, reaching 64.5 in December, according to private research group The Conference Board. Still low, but consumers are spending again.nRetail sales are surging.Total retail sales last year were a record $4.7 trillion. That's an 8 percent jump from 2010 and the biggest annual increase since 1999, according to the Commerce Department.n Auto sales are improving.U.S. automakers sold 12.8 million vehicles last year, a 23 percent increase from 2009. Analysts predict sales could reach 13.8 million this year.

Foreign automakers also are doing well. Volkswagen's 2011 U.S. sales increased more than 26 percent from 2010, helped by production of the new Passat at its plant in Chattanooga.

An improving auto industry is good news for East Tennessee's auto parts manufacturers and suppliers, many of whom have cranked up production and added workers in recent months.n Factories are humming again.U.S. factory output ended 2011 on an upswing, fueled by increased demand for business equipment, vehicles and energy, according to a Federal Reserve report released last week.

Industrial production now sits less than 5 percent below prerecession levels, the Fed said.

The economy is a long way from a full comeback. The housing market remains a drag on the recovery. But even homebuilders are feeling better.

National Home Builders Association Chairman Bob Nielsen said in a prepared statement last week that improving builder sentiment "is yet another indication of the gradual but steady improvement that is beginning to take hold in an increasing number of housing markets nationwide. Policymakers must now take every precaution to avoid derailing this nascent recovery."

Nielsen may sound overly optimistic, but the last part of his statement is spot-on — the recovery is taking hold and it is imperative that policymakers don't screw it up.

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Comments » 5

joeparr2000#255292 writes: doubt the economy is improving..the sticking point is unemployment...if the economy can't put more people to work in the private sector, the only thing that is going to keep growing are the welfare rolls...

whizkidtn writes:

Interesting Demwit puff piece. -1

Not mentioned in the article: Yet another flood of foreclosed home will begin to hit the housing market this year, the national debt is rocketing toward $16T and many State and local governments are reeling under their own massive debts. We have thousands of veterans returning home to a horrible unemployment situation and millions out of work. Millions more (a new record number) have been added to the government food handout rosters (the modern day soup lines of old, food-stamps). The devastating affects of Obamacare, the massive bulk of which hasn't been implemented yet, is rolling like a freight train at most small businesses creating more FUD, despite the regimes many 'exemptions' given out like candy to the Demwits political friends, etc., etc.

Yup - Happy days are here again (NOT)!

I expect far more of these type of 'articles' to hit over the next many months to try and pull the wool over the sheeple's eyes and re-elect the Dear Leader.

GeorgeW writes:

One local company, on the stock market to watch, is Tennova, operated by Health Management Associates, (HMA).
In July 2011, their stock was $11.50 a share. They took over Mercy Health Systems in Oct.
Friday, their stock was $6.26, a 46% DROP!
Plus...what's with them naming the old St. Mary's: Physician's Regional Medical Center, when Covenant Health has had the Regional Medical Center name for years...?

ChuckLohre writes:

The American Dream Composite Index™ (ADCI) is a unique and robust measure of American sentiment that quantifies the American Dream on a monthly basis. The instrument is the culmination of over three years of research at Xavier University on the American Dream and remains the only statistically validated measure of the American Dream.
The American Dream Composite Index™ in January 2012 is 63.96, an increase of 1.46% compared the previous month reading of 63.04 in December 2011. For the month of January, the five components of the ADCI performed as follows: the American Dream Economic Index™ was 62.00 (+1.86% from December), the American Dream Well-Being Index™ was 69.48 (+1.74% from December), the American Dream Societal Index™ was 52.84 (+1.77% from December), the American Dream Diversity Index™ was 73.53 (+0.29% from December), and the American Dream Environment Index™ (ADEVI) was 67.94 (-2.33% from December).

There will be a webinar Friday, 1/27/12 at 1:00 P.M. got to the web site and click on the link if you would like to participate,

RandalH (Inactive) writes:

Growth is returning, but it likely won't be enough to have much effect, at least not like we're used to seeing after a recession (assuming it ever really ended - officials can't seem to decide). I think some of that may be due to fundamental changes in the economy that will take a long time to work through (if ever). We're in a much more competitive world and we have mountains of debt, on which just the interest payments will balloon from $200 billion/year now to over $800 billion/year by 2020 (surpassing the defense budget). We're becoming a pretty unfriendly place to do business, which other countries are addressing and capitalizing on while we are not. Neither major party seems capable of understanding the restructuring that may need to take place in order to right-size our expectations going forward. On top of all that, some economists are predicting the start of another recession in 2012. At any rate, whoever wins the 2012 election will likely preside over one pretty early on. I think the likelihood of that is what kept a lot of prominent Republicans out of the presidential race.

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