FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Walker
866/342.5642, ext. 153
ORLANDO, FL (February 19, 2009) – A packed house of auto-glass retailers and suppliers heard a fairly gloomy assessment of the nation’s short-term economic prospects during an in-depth presentation by noted economist Jeff Dietrich at the 20th annual National Auto Glass Conference® here today.
Dietrich, senior analyst with ITR and EcoTrends, warned that we are further from the “bottom” of the current economic cycle than we’ve been led to believe. His analysis suggests that the nation will not begin to feel the effects of a broad-based recovery until early-to-mid-2010; not by mid-2009 as many are predicting.
The bad news will continue for some time, particularly in the retail sector. Driven primarily by the rapid and historic disintegration of housing values, the virtual “ATM” of home equity loans has completely dried up. Consumers now have little cushion to fall back upon, leading them to horde whatever cash remains to weather the prevailing economic storm. The lessons of our Depression-era grandparents are finding new meaning to current generations of credit-addicted consumers.
Dietrich conceded that while most business executives cannot claim to understand all the factors at play in today’s turbulent climate, there are few things that seem certain.
• There is little we can do to change the external forces weighing down our economy; but what we can do is plan now for the future recovery if we know the facts;
• GDP is likely to decline through 2010 - the longest, steepest recession since World War II;
• No market sectors will be spared - the pain will be felt across the board;
• Signs of recovery will emerge in 2010, but we will still be far from firing on all cylinders;
• The retail sector just experienced its worst selling season in 59 years, and will be depressed well into 2010;
• Consumers are moving away from credit and purchasing with cash;
• Luxury brands are taking the biggest hit (Saks now promoting 50-70% markdowns);
• History will show that we are already in the midst of a housing market depression;
• The financial markets will remain fragile and volatile beyond 2009;
• Most of the spending, and therefore effect, of the Obama Administration’s record stimulus package will not be realized until 2011 and 2012; and,
• Global economies are inextricably linked - therefore, we’re all in this together.
According to Dietrich, the up-shot of the above conditions is that now is the time for business leaders to engage in strategic, long-term planning. This is no short-term dip that we must simply wait out. Those predicting a bounce-back in 2009 have little to base their optimism on but hope. In order to survive the next few years - and prosper in an eventual recovery - companies must adapt to new economic realities, conserve cash and anticipate a later recovery.
Founded in 1948, the National Glass Association is the largest trade association representing the flat (architectural) and auto glass industries. Based outside Washington, DC, and representing over 3,000 member companies and locations, NGA offers certification, education and training, including MyGlassClass.com – a state-of-the-art online training resource. NGA publishes the industry’s leading trade magazines: Glass Magazine® and Window & Door®; and e-newsletters: e-glass weekly™ and WDweekly™. In addition, NGA serves the industry and general public with its Web sites: glass.org, GlassBuildAmerica.com, GlassMagazine.com, WindowandDoor.com, and MyAutoGlass.org. NGA also hosts the industry’s premier annual trade events: GlassBuild America®: The Glass, Window & Door Expo and the National Auto Glass Forum. For more information on NGA, visit www.glass.org.