US auto sales start to bottom

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The blog may be over-optimistic, but as with US house markets, it is hopeful that US auto market may have hit at least a temporary bottom. Spring should be a good period for sales, and March saw auto volumes down 37% versus 2008. This was a relatively good performance after February’s 41% decline, but still remained under the 10 million/year level.

Housing and autos are leading indicators for the economy, whilst unemployment is a lagging indicator. Firms usually only fire people after sales have declined, not before. Sadly, it is therefore not surprising that the US economy lost 663,000 jobs in March. 5 million jobs have now been lost due to the recession.

Hopefully the US economy will not get much worse short-term. But it is hard to see it recovering quickly with so many people out of work, and many others worried about their job security.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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