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Economic Outlook for 2018: Slowing Momentum

Economic Outlook for 2018: Slowing Momentum

June 7, 2018

Nearing its midpoint, 2018 is shaping up as the strongest in many years for distributors; anecdotally, distributors are crushing it. Public and private distributors across most sectors are reporting double-digit quarterly growth. Case in point: Fastenal yesterday reported a 12.5-percent net sales increase for May year over year (same for daily sales increase for the month). MDM predicts that all but two of the 19 major distribution sectors will record revenue growth in 2018 and 2019. Overall, MDM forecasts 2018 industry revenues for the U.S. wholesale distribution sector to grow at 5.3 percent, slowing to 3.6 percent in 2019. Among the fastest growing in 2018: Industrial distributors at 8.5-percent growth over 2017, and electrical distributors at 7.5-percent growth over 2017 revenues. 

But while strong economic momentum, partially fueled by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and strong employment, is the 2018 story so far and will continue in the second half, all signs are pointing to a gradual slowing through the end of 2018 and into 2019, according to most economic analyses. Join MDM for our webcast next Wednesday, June 13, at 1 p.m. Eastern as we review key economic trends across wholesale distribution sectors, as well as how macroeconomic trends are shaping the rest of 2018 and 2019 in our 2018 Mid-Year Economic Update webcast.

I invite you to join me and our economic research partner, Brian Lewandowski, Associate Director at the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder, as we review 2017 performance, first-half 2018 economic trends and our outlook on the rest of 2018 and into 2019. Register for the 2018 Mid-Year Economic Update webcast.

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