From The Editor

Numbers, Players Tell Conflicting Story

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MCN Editor Dan Markham

If you’ve got everything figured out, you’re a much smarter man or woman than me. Scratch that, of course you are. Nevertheless, I’m still a little flummoxed at the moment.

In my years covering this business, rarely have I seen such a unique combination of horrible and encouraging news running side by side as I see featured in my inbox, in various news sources I follow and in conversations with industry players.

The PMI, long one of the gold standards for our industry’s health, rebounded a little in May. Manufacturing technology orders cracked $500 million for the second straight month. Executives I speak to in most sectors remain pretty bullish on their various sectors.

On the other hand, another set of numbers, such as the PMA Business Conditions Report and the stock market swoon tell a different story. A recent release from the Associated Builders and Contractors sounded a particularly worrying alarm, anticipating a recession either late this year or early next.

And, sometimes, a single report can contain both types of news. MSCI’s most recent shipment report showed relative stability in the U.S., and eye-catching declines in Canada.

I suppose if I was looking for predictability, I got in the wrong industry.