As we finish the final few weeks of 2017, the focus for Industry At A Glance will be external.  That is, this column will highlight several key indicators regarding the strength of the economy.  Those indicators include the current employment situation, consumer confidence and S&P earnings, respectively. 

Focusing on the economy is important with respect to potential beef demand as we transition into 2018. One of the key components for demand of any product (including beef) involves consumer expectations; in general, better expectations translate to stronger demand, all other things being equal.

That said, the November jobs report was solid. Employers added 228,000 jobs in November – thereby keeping unemployment at a 17-year low. The 12-month moving average has consistently hovered just around 200,000 jobs. The consistency is somewhat surprising given the extended duration of the current recovery since the sharp plunge in jobs associated with the financial crisis in ’08 and ’09.

The current employment situation will undoubtedly be an important topic of discussion going into the December Federal Open Market Committee meeting. With all that in mind, what’s your general assessment of the current state of the economy? Will consumers spending remain robust as we come out of the holiday season? How do you perceive economic conditions going forward? How might this translate for beef demand in 2018? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Nevil Speer is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and serves as vice president of U.S. operations for AgriClear, Inc. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMX Group Limited. The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TMX Group Limited and Natural Gas Exchange Inc.