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Composites outlook remains positive, despite slow growth forecasts

As economists forecast slowing economic growth, data from composites industry leaders suggest continued high expectations for the composites market.
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National headlines have recently been forecasting slowing economic growth going into the rest of 2019 (for example, see CNBC’s “Business economists see a slowdown in growth this year, survey says”). Michael Guckes, chief economist at Gardner Intelligence, a division of CompositesWorld’s publisher Gardner Business Media, agrees that there is an overall slowing growth picture in the next six to 12 months.

However, according to Gardner Intelligence data, the short-term business outlook for composites in particular appears relatively stronger compared to those of other manufacturing technologies.

The attached chart illustrates Gardner Intelligence data related to future business expectations and employment reported by composites industry leaders. Both of these factors, Guckes says, are important indicators of the composite industry’s short-term outlook. Employment, in particular, represents a long-term investment which companies can’t recoup for many months, especially in a weak or weakening market. According to Guckes, employment is a little slower than it was this time last year, but both numbers are high overall and resemble the growth periods seen in 2017. 

“If overall manufacturing experiences a future lull, the composites industry will be a relatively better-off manufacturing sector,” Guckes says. “Composites has a ‘technology substitution’ story to it that will uniquely allow it to continue to grow its market share. In addition, worldwide regulations demanding that the world manufacture with greater efficiency in mind will only further composites’ growth.”

Follow Guckes’ monthly Composites Index reports for more and gardnerintelligence.com for more.

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