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BrandSource Keynoter Paints Bright Economic Picture

ORLANDO, FLA. — It is rare when any business organization invites the same person to keynote an annual event in back-to-back years, but that is just what BrandSource did for when it invited Joe Higgins to speak again at its Summit & Expo last month, here.

The reason why the recently retired (March 2013) Whirlpool exec (now a public speaker and consultant) was invited back was that so many of his economic forecasts about 2013 for GDP, unemployment, appliance sales, the stock market and housing starts were right on the money.

In last year’s keynote, Higgins ( showed that the long economic slump since the Great Recession of 2008 was ending and 2013 was going to be a good year. He is now predicting 2014 could be even better.

Among the highlights:

• The U.S. will soon become the leading oil producer in the world.

• America has halved its federal budget deficit since 2010 and is now approaching a level consistent with debt stabilization.

• More companies are bring jobs back to the U.S. Higgins said this marks “the beginning of the next 10 year cycle and golden years of your business,” and quoted a Boston Consulting survey that showed 56 percent of American companies with sales moret than $1 billion are either bringing jobs back or considering it next year.

Higgins explained that the last month is known as “the multiplier effect,” when the injection of new income leads to more spending and creates income for others.

And, in another group of statistics that were music to these independent retailers’ ears, Higgins quoted National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) statistics, saying that 1.5 million housing starts per year will be sustainable in five years. Starts were up 25.1 percent last year, and it is projecting 1.2 million will be up this year, with home prices rising 6.4 percent.

If that wasn’t good enough news, Higgins again quoted NAHB, saying that home remodeling will be up 9.6 percent, and the most desired purchase for homeowners this year is a new kitchen.

Here are a few more key economic indicators that Higgins shared with his BrandSource audience:


Consumer sentiment 2008                                                                           39.2

Five-year average 2009-2013                                                                      62.2

February 2014 sentiment (a five-year high)                                                 81.6

A fully functioning economy                                                                          90.0


Average increase in GDP since 1948                                                             3.25%

Q3 increase in GDP 2013                                                                               4.1%

Q4 increase in GDP 2013                                                                               2.4 %

2014 estimated GDP growth                                                                          3.1%


Revolving credit use, 2008-2011                                                                    36%

2013 rise in credit                                                                                          +3.6%

2014 rise in credit                                                                                          +4.6%

Consumer credit card debt paid off since 2008                                              $1.8 trillion


January 2009                                                                                                 10.1%

January 2013                                                                                                 8.1%

December. 2013                                                                                             6.7%

Estimated full-year unemployment 2014                                                        6.2%


* Last year the Dow Jones was up 38.3%

* S&P was up 29.8%

* NASDAQ was up 38.2%

* In 2014 the market should rise 6.6%