I hope some of this beautiful Houston “winter” weather is gracing your part of the world. Looking back to some of my writings from beginning of last year I wanted to touch base on some of the prevailing predictions for the economy at the time. The economy was gradually improving when oil prices dropped sharply at the end of 2014. Some economist predicted we would see them start to rise in the middle of 2015, others estimated that it would take until 2016 to start seeing a rise in that sector. Prices stayed in that same $40-$60 range for much of last year. Currently as of February oil is trading around $30 a barrel, which is more bad news for those directly in the energy sector and supporting industries. Thankfully both our local economy in Houston and our national economy is more diverse and other positive trends in other sectors are helping to balance out these industries.
Consumers are spending more money which is in part due to lower prices at the pump. Unemployment levels continue to fall as people are finding new jobs. Housing construction continues to rise which is spurring on a lot of activity in the raw materials industries and freight to move products to places of high building activity. Infrastructure spending is also rising in current places for road and bridges rebuilding. With the brisk breeze and sunny days, it’s hard to not have a positive outlook. In general expectations are that we should be seeing a net better economy for 2016 than we experienced in 2015.
We are starting to see uptick in consumer interest this quarter far exceeding last quarter and so we continue to be optimistic for the outlook. Many of our customers continue the trend of moving away from daily lease equipment that many times is either unavailable or in substandard operating condition. Trucking companies want to be in control of the wheels that are moving their customer’s valuable cargoes and so they turn again to us asking us to provide quality used equipment at fair market value. We continue to improve our processes to make the experience as effortless and fruitful as possible. Here’s to 2016!