Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress today (Feb. 27) that the U.S. economy is emerging from recession, although he cautioned that the recovery will be modest, according to Reuters.
“The typical dynamics of the business cycle have re-emerged and are prompting a firming in economic activity,” Greenspan told the House Committee on Financial Services. “An array of influences unique to this business cycle, however, seems likely to moderate the speed of the anticipated recovery.”
A key sign that the economy is “close to a turning point” to recovery comes from low business inventories, which will force increases in production in the coming months, he said.
RV dealers appear to be among the business operators who have shrunk their inventories to the point where a robust rate of replenishment may still be needed.
For example, in December, the most current data available, retail sales of travel trailers and fifth-wheels soared 23% while Class A motorhome retail sales climbed 12.5% and Class C motorhome retail was up 6%, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., an independent market research firm.
Meanwhile, there were 103,850 travel trailers, 54,612 fifth-wheels, 34,034 Class A’s and 13,468 Class C’s retailed during 2001, Statistical Surveys also reported.
Statistical Surveys was unable to gather September-through-December retail sales data from New Hampshire in time for its report.
Meanwhile, the Recreation Vehicle industry Association (RVIA) reported that its members shipped 102,200 travel trailers, 54,700 fifth-wheels, 33,400 Class A’s and 13,200 Class C’s from their factories to their dealers during 2001.
There was a slight amount of RV dealer inventory re-building during December, a comparison of the Statistical Surveys and RVIA figures reveals.
Also, RV dealers with more than $5 million in annual sales had expanded their new RV unit inventories, in dollar terms, by 8% as of the end of last year, according to consultant firm The Spader Companies.
However, the larger dealers may have stocked a higher percentage of more-expensive units, which could mean they did not increase their unit volume by as much as 8%.
Also, the Spader firm reported that RV dealers with less than $5 million in annual revenue had new RV unit inventories that were 2% smaller, in dollar terms, at the end of 2001, when compared with the end of 2000.