At the 14th Annual Manufacturing Seminar, Senior Economic Advisor, Alan N. Beaulieu, emphasized the first half of 2014 will be a growth period that must be capitalized on before the mild downturn. Economic factors such as a stimulative monetary policy, increased bank lending, and continued deficit spending comprise the remaining life in the recovery before the economy tightens.  Concerns for the second half of 2014 include stagnant wage growth, higher inflation, increased Affordable Care Act taxes, unclear deficit reduction plans, and a looming bond and stock bubble.

Beaulieu’s Advice for Manufacturers

Beaulieu advised manufacturers to begin preparation for the mild downturn and to implement specific management objectives to capitalize on the upswing through 2019.  He recommended investing in customer market research and employee training programs, reviewing and uncovering competitive advantages, locking in costs, and improving technology and software systems for readiness to accommodate increased activity. In addition, he advised aggressively pursuing new markets and opportunities, specifically in the following sectors:

  • Energy Distribution
  • Water Distribution/Conservation
  • Natural Resources
  • Health Care
  • Housing
  • Food
  • Funeral Services

Looking Ahead To 2030

An aging population with rising medical costs coupled with inflation, higher interest rates and continued deficit spending will all contribute to what Beaulieu described as “A Great Depression” by 2030.  His goal is to warn manufacturers now so that they can begin to adjust their plans accordingly to prepare for this event.; the winds of change will come, but we can learn to adjust the sails now to weather the storm.