Foodservice Equipment Reports

SIFTING FOR NUGGETS IN THE NEWS

If you’ve been on a steady news diet lately, you might want to push away from the table and see how much better you’ll feel.

News being news, the emphasis is generally on the negative, and there are good arguments to be made for that. But the relentless rehash can make you want to throw yourself under a food truck. It can warp your perception and paralyze you. Then the siege mentality does more damage than the bad news itself did.

With good reason, in recent weeks the debt-ceiling debacle in Washington got overwhelming coverage. Then the deal, such as it was, was announced. Then there was the FAA shutdown. Then global markets unraveled in a fit of hand-wringing over global debts, not just ours but everyone else’s too. The list of woes goes on and on.

Good news came Friday, however, but somehow the story seemed smaller than the bigger, badder stories earlier in the week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its July jobs report, and the figures were better than they’ve been for a while. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 117,000. The private sector was up by 154,000, in fact, but that number was muted by 37,000 government jobs lost.

Now, it’s true that experts figure we really need something like 250,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth. So 117,000 still isn’t where you need it to be. But it’s a step in the right direction, and it beats the heck out of the enormous negative numbers we were seeing not that long ago.

Some secondary news was good, too, or at least better than bad. BLS job numbers for May and June had been really dismal, but on Friday those figures were revised upward. Still lame, but less lame. But peeling back the outer layer, you find some more glimmers of hope. The growth, again, was all in the private sector--99,000 jobs in May and 80,000 in June. Government job numbers were negative. Again, these total numbers are not strong enough, but the trend is going in the right direction.

All of which is good news for foodservice, and for equipment and supplies. And it lines up, roughly, with reports from all around our industry. As Robin has outlined in recent issues of FER Dealer Report and FER Fortnightly, big public E&S companies have been reporting growth. The MAFSI Barometer has been showing growth, and so has the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index. The FER Top Dealer study, which appeared in the June issue, also documented third-party verified growth.

Add it all up, and as Robin has reported, Foodservice Equipment Reports now forecasts E&S market growth at the manufacturer level at 4% in current dollars, 2.2% real. And next year looks like 4.7% nominal, 2.6% real.

So—don’t get so distracted by the bad news that you lose sight of the good news—which in this case, by the way, is much closer to home for our industry.



Chief Editor
bward@fermag.com

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