January 2015

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("Regional Directors Sum Up Their Slice of North America" continued from page 49) 50 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | January 2015 >> REGIONAL REPORTS NORTHEAST REGION 'Bonus' Nail-Biter Created Legitimate Concern AED Director Chris Palmer Wood's CRW Corp. A s 2014 was drawing to a close, many distributors in the Northeast have not seen the usual year-end tax purchases that we have become accustomed too over the years. As of this writing contractors and distributors alike are anxiously waiting to hear if the Senate will take up the bill just passed by the House that restores the Section 179 expensing limits and 50 percent bonus depre- ciation. Dealers have the inventory to meet any last-minute demand. (As CED went to press, the president was signing the "extenders" bill.) e region's unemployment rate continues to trend in the right direction, standing at 5.9 percent as compared to 7.3 percent in October of 2013. is is the lowest monthly BLS rate for the region since September of 2008. In general, contractors and distribu- tors have had a busy construction season. Rental, parts and service revenues continue to trend positive as more machines are working than last year at this time. Dealer concerns continue to be with the percentage of rental purchase option conversions at the end of the season. Unit retails in the common CE classes increased in the region as compared to YTD October 2013 by over 8 percent. Compact/Utility Equipment grew by more than 9 percent, while general purpose equipment advanced in the 6 percent range. ere is growing hope that this growth accelerates or at least holds steady with 2013 numbers. n J ust prior to anksgiving it's cold; freezing temperatures in all 50 states. e elections are over; the electorate is still disen- chanted. And very few look to be truly under fed. Times are good on the West Coast. Jobs are being added throughout the region, although the marquee unemployment rates are remaining stubbornly high due in large part to workforce re-entry (which is a good thing.) National comparative job growth rates over the past year ranked Idaho 3rd, Washington 7th, Oregon 23rd, and California 27th. Construction employment continues to rise in every Le Coast state (except Alaska) with increasingly common anecdotal reports of skilled trades shortages particularly in the coastal metropolitan areas. Regional personal income is growing at roughly the same rate as inflation (just under 2 percent on average) but recent data points to relatively faster wage growth in the lower and middle income groups (generally another good economic thing). e leading digits on gas station signs are beginning to show "2" instead of 3 or 4. Personal income growth, and the net perceived income growth of lower energy prices, are driving housing starts upward, although the rebound has a consider- able distance to go before reaching pre-recession levels. Entering Year 6 of the recovery, most of the West Coast's economic indicators are still positive. Sort of business as usual. at's what it is. n U.S. WEST REGION "There's frost on the graves and the monuments | But the taverns are warm in town People curse the government | And shovel hot food down" -Mark Knopfler: 'What It Is' AED Director Patrick McConnell Clyde-West Inc. Portland, Ore.

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