NEW ORLEANS — Increasing home values, residential housing construction and rising employment will be key drivers of the U.S. economy in 2014, Steven Szakaly, the National Automobile Dealers Association’s new chief economist, said this past week. Those factors will also drive light vehicle sales to 16.4 million units this year, he predicted, a 5.8% increase from 2013.
“Consumers will be far better off in 2014 than last year,” Szakaly added. “Employment is improving, debt has been reduced and home prices across all regions of the country will remain stable or will rise, creating a positive wealth effect.”
Last year, 15.5 million new light vehicles were sold in the United State. It marked the fifth straight year of a long recovery from the global financial crisis and the automotive bankruptcies.
“There is considerable upside potential in 2014 as economic activity is expected to increase as the year progresses,” he added. “Gross domestic product will grow about 2.8% this year, stability in housing with concurrent growth in employment and manufacturing all lead to a positive outlook for 2014.”
Szakaly added that employment, particularly in the construction and services industries, will improve this year, and a moderation in gasoline prices and improvements in the housing market will help to offset stagnation in wages and income in 2014.