A recently conducted survey of 53 economists reveals they believe that the U.S. economy will grow almost as rapidly during the second half of this year as it did during 1999, the Wall Street Journal reports today (Sept. 12).
The U.S. economy will grow at a 4.7% rate in the third quarter and at a 4% rate during the fourth quarter, the economists believe. That would be the most rapid rate of expansion since a 6% rate was achieved during the second half of 1999, the Journal reports.
Of course, economists have been wrong before but the Journal pointed out that there is mounting evidence that the economy has made an upward turn. For example, auto sales were strong during August and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. reported its back-to-school sales were stronger than it expected.
The economists believe President Bush’s tax-cut package was a major contributor to the upturn, according to the Journal.
More rapid economic growth, obviously, would be good news for RV manufacturers and dealers along with other producers and sellers of consumer goods. In 1999, more RVs were sold than during any year since the late 1970s and RV sales, although they have been trending higher the last two years, have not yet reached 1999 levels.
Retail sales of RVs outperformed the economy as a whole during the first half of this year, even though consumer confidence was weak during that period. Retail sales of travel trailers and fifth-wheels were up 15% in June and up 8.3% during the first half of this year, while Class A motorhome sales increased 19.5% in June and they were up 7.3% during the first half of this year, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
So, the question now appears to be: Will the RV market get even stronger, or continue growing at its currently relatively robust rate?