Today there are so many different business barometers and indicators that they must be confusing to many. The most important barometer to every business man is the one which is based upon the record of sales in his own bailiwick. Mention the fact that general business is on the upgrade to the man whose sales barometer is at a standstill and he will either call you an extreme optimist or a promotor of some sort.
But there is no disputing these facts: During the last week of November the composite index for 1938 has either equalled or topped that of the comparable period of 1937. Automotive production, steel operations, power output, carloadings, cotton manufacturing, paper production and residential building are all considerably advanced over the same period of last year.
The Federal Reserve Board reports industrial production increasing sharply during October and November. Indications are that the index figure for November will be the highest since October, 1937. Physical volume of business shows a decided increase over the same period a year ago. These figures are borne out by an upward swing in used equipment sales which is somewhat of a barometer in itself, because manufacturers are not buying lathes and planers or motors and generators unless they can put them to work. The majority of today’s machinery inquiries call for immediate delivery. The pessimist who will continue to pooh-pooh these facts and figures is not “pitching.”
This upturn of business should be a forerunner of what to expect in 1939. We look for the year to start off with a “bang” and to continue this upward swing. In spite of the fact that there is a fairly good supply of machinery available on the used market, stocks will be depleted rapidly, as they were during 1937. Our suggestion is that the machinery buyer make plans accordingly.