The U.S. economy is expected to remain strong next year, with Indiana outperforming the nation, according to the annual Business Outlook forecast released Thursday by Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
A panel of Kelley School economists was scheduled to present the 2019 forecast early Thursday morning in downtown Indianapolis, and will present it again at 11 a.m. Thursday in Bloomington. The Business Outlook Tour panel also will present national, state and local economic forecasts in eight other cities across the state through Nov. 28.
The panel said this year’s higher-than-expected economic growth should continue into next year, with U.S. output averaging 3 percent amid strong gains in domestic job growth.
Indiana will do even better, with output growing at a rate of 3.2 percent, according to the forecast.
A year ago, panelists predicted that U.S. gross domestic product would grow by 2.6 percent this year and about 3 percent if tax reforms were enacted. Indiana was forecast to see growth of 2.8 percent.
Friday’s release of GDP data for the third quarter indicates 2018 should end up with output growth above those levels.
“The tax cut has produced an acceleration in the U.S. economy during 2018 to well above the new normal status quo of 2 percent growth,” said Bill Witte, associate professor emeritus of economics at IU, in written comments. “We expect output growth in 2019 to average 3 percent, but with deceleration as the year proceeds.”
Ryan Brewer, associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus and author of the panel’s Indiana forecast said the state economy should see its strongest growth in the first quarter next year.
After that, “growth rates are expected to slow but remain strong through the end of the year,” he said “It is most likely Indiana will continue to experience growth across the board—in jobs, numbers of establishments, income levels, wages as well as gross state product.”
The national labor market has exceeded expectations for two years now. A year ago, the panel felt the U.S. economy would create jobs at a monthly rate of about 175,000 and the unemployment rate would fall to 4 percent. Instead, monthly job creation through September has averaged nearly 200,000, and the jobless rate has fallen to 3.7 percent.
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These job creation trends are expected to continue into 2019, with average monthly job gains of 200,000. “The labor market will be increasingly tight,” Witte said. “The unemployment rate could decline a little, but firms unable to find workers will remain an important theme.”
The forecast could feel negative impacts from political uncertainty, trade disputes and economic concerns being felt in other parts of the world, including China and Europe. The panel also expressed reservations about the impact of further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.
Kyle Anderson, clinical assistant professor of business economics and author of the forecast for an 11-county area that includes Indianapolis, Carmel and Anderson, said the region is at full employment.
He expects economic growth in the area will average about 2.5 percent next year.
The economists also predicted:
— Consumer spending will continue to grow, although at a rate less than in 2018.
— Business investment will be good, but held back by trade concerns.
— Housing will resume growth with a small boost from the aftermath of hurricanes Florence and Michael.
— Mortgage rates, nearly a full point higher than a year ago, could dampen enthusiasm for new housing and constrain prices.
— The trade balance will show increasing deficits.
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Taking a DIY approach to renovating your kitchen is a great way to save money and put your own stamp on your home’s interior design.
A big area to save money on when completing your own kitchen makeover is the cabinets. Replacing old cabinets with new ones can cost a hefty chunk of change, but you can give your old cabinets new life without ripping them out or spending hours sanding and stripping. It’s absolutely possible with a magical little invention called chalk paint.
Chalk paint is the perfect choice for painting cabinets because it’s simple to use and requires minimal prep. No more renting a giant sander and spending hours trying to strip off the old finish or topcoat! Chalk paint’s formulation sticks to a wide range of surface types, and it does so without chipping or flaking.
Many brands of chalk paint are available, from Country Chic to Annie Sloan to Rust-Oleum. A little goes a long way, so you can save money by purchasing less paint but still getting the same coverage.
Chalk paint is easy to use — just follow these directions.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Soapy water and a cloth
- Painter’s tape
- Sandpaper or a sanding block (optional)
- Chalk paint
- Paint rollers, brushes, and trays
- Foam brushes
Remove your cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Tape off the floor and around outlets, counter edges, and appliances with some FrogTape or ScotchBlue painter’s tape.
Clean your cabinets of any dirt, grease, and grime by using warm, soapy water or a mild cleanser, like trisodium phosphate (TSP). Wipe dry with a microfiber cotton cloth.
3. Sand (Optional)
It isn’t really required, but I still like to sand my cabinets lightly with a 120-grit sanding block or piece of sandpaper. About 30 seconds a drawer or door is more than enough.
If you do decide to sand, wipe the surface clean again with another microfiber cloth to remove all dust and debris.
Using a paint roller or brush, coat your cabinets, drawers, and built-ins with one coat of primer. Let dry for about 30 minutes to an hour.
Using a paint roller or brush, apply two coats of chalk paint. We used the color Pebble Beach from Country Chic, which is a nice, neutral cool gray.
Allow a couple of hours dry time between coats, and let dry for 24 hours after the last coat.
6. Apply topcoat
Once the chalk paint has had 24 hours to dry, use a foam brush and apply two coats of topcoat (or Tough Coat, if you’re using the Country Chic line), giving an hour of dry time between coats. The foam brush is to ensure there aren’t any streaks in the final finish.
Let cure for 24 hours before moving or replacing cabinet doors so the finish has time to harden and avoid scratching.
Reinstall cabinet doors and drawer fronts. If desired, install or change out hardware.
Et voilà! A brand new kitchen for a fraction of the price.
Painting cabinets may take a little bit of time and elbow grease, but the impact that freshly painted cabinets can make is staggering. And with the addition of clever time-saving products like chalk paint, you can have a whole new look by the end of the weekend with minimal prep or hassle.
Tackle your kitchen cabinets and take control of the design of your home. You won’t regret it.
To view more photos and DIY tips for home improvement, visit Zillow
June and Fred Smith were diligent about getting their home ready for sale. They ordered a pre-sale termite inspection report. The report revealed that their large rear deck was dry-rot infested, so they replaced it before putting their home on the market.
The Smiths also called a reputable roofer to examine the roof and issue a report on its condition. The roofer felt that the roof was on its last legs and that it should be replaced. The Smith’s didn’t want buyers to be put off by a bad roof, so they had the roof replaced and the exterior painted before they marketed the home.
The Smith’s home was attractive, well-maintained and priced right for the market. It received multiple offers the first week it was listed for sale.
But the buyers’ inspection report indicated that the house was in serious need of drainage work. According to a drainage contractor, the job would cost in excess of $20,000. Fred Smith was particularly distraught because he’d paid to have corrective drainage work done several years ago.
First-Time Tip: If you get an alarming inspection report on a home you’re buying or selling, don’t panic. Until you see the whole picture clearly, you’re not in a position to determine whether you have a major problem to deal with or not.
What happened to the Smiths is typical of what can happen over time with older homes. The drainage work that was completed years ago was probably adequate at the time. But since then, there had been unprecedented rains in the area, which caused flooding in many basements. Drainage technology had advanced. New technology can be more expensive but often does a better job.
The Smiths considered calling in other drainage experts to see if the work could be done for less. After studying the buyers’ inspection report, the contractor’s proposal and the buyers’ offer to split the cost of the drainage work 50-50 with the sellers, the Smiths concluded that they had a fair deal.
The solution is not always this easy, especially when contractors can’t agree. Keep in mind that there is an element of subjectivity involved in the inspection process. For example, two contractors might disagree on the remedy for a dry-rotted window: one calling for repair and the other for replacement.
Recently, one roofer recommended a total roof replacement for a cost of $6,000. A second roofer disagreed. His report said that the roof should last another three to four years if the owner did $800 of maintenance work. Based on the two reports, the buyers and sellers were able to negotiate a satisfactory monetary solution to the problem for an amount that was between the two estimates.
It’s problematic when inspectors are wrong. But it happens. Inspectors are only human. Here is another example: A home inspector looked at a house and issued a report condemning the furnace, which he said needed to be replaced.
The sellers called in a heating contractor who declared that the furnace was fit and that it did not need to be replaced.
The buyers were unsure about the furnace, given the difference of opinions. The seller called in a representative from the local gas company. The buyers knew that the gas company representative would have to shut the furnace down if it was dangerous. He found nothing wrong with the furnace, and the buyers were satisfied.
In Closing: Sometimes finding the right expert to give an opinion on a suspected house problem is the answer, but it is always good to get two opinions.
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