• What's in Store for the Local Economy in 2020?

        The U.S. economy is in its 126th month of expansion that dates to July 2009, and Elgin businesses have been riding the wave. The question everyone has been asking themselves is how long can the longest expansion in U.S. history continue? Will the economy contract, continue expanding, fall or flatten is anyone’s guess? Here are a few quotes from Elgin’s business leaders on what 2020 has in store:
        “Ziegler’s Ace customers continue to invest in new Weber and Traeger grills, Ego mowers and snowblowers, and Benjamin Moore paints. We do not see any scaling back of these premium product investments in 2020,” says David Ziegler, Owner of Ziegler’s Ace Hardware.
        Mike Bilyk, President of American NTN Bearing stated, “At NTN, we are beginning to see signs of slowing with some of our automotive customers and our short-term forecasts indicate decreasing volumes on several vehicle programs in 2020. However, in Elgin, we are expanding our production capacity to support new vehicle programs and newly acquired customers. We expect increased sales and the need to expand our workforce in the coming year. “
        “Though risks remain, the economy looks resilient while interest rates are likely to stay at low levels. It is important to note however that market corrections are normal, even during bull markets," says Michael McKay, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones. "Over the last 100 years the Dow has declined by at least 10% on average once a year. We have not yet seen this large of a downswing in the market this year; however, we expect volatility to increase and remain at normal levels as the bull market ages.” 
        “The economy is very strong and consumer confidence continues to be very positive.  I don’t see any signs of a slowdown over the next 12 to 18 months. However, legislative issues in this election year have the potential to manipulate the market,” says David Bear, President, The Bear Family McDonald’s Restaurants.
        “Although Elgin continues to be one of the top markets for home construction, the new housing sector is down 75% from historic highs and showing signs of slowing in the new year,” said Mark Seigle, President of Seigle’s Cabinet Center.
        “The local Kane County economy and commercial real estate market will continue to benefit from these positive macro-economic tailwinds.  We note that, while the retail and office sectors face heavy pressure to perform, the industrial sector has experienced robust growth, aided by the impact of e-commerce," according to Ken Franzese, Principal at Lee & Associates." Additionally, the multi-family sector is expected to remain strong due to younger residents’ proclivity towards renting versus owning.” 
        “In most cases, economic tailwinds and strong business confidence over the last decade have propelled many of our local and regional businesses to record sales, profitability, and development activity," according to Michael Brown, VP, Commercial Banking at TBK Bank. "Shortages of skilled labor across nearly all sectors continues to challenge business owners.  In 2020, we’re looking for continued strong performance from our varied customer base across the commercial, industrial, professional, and real estate areas,” 
        Mike Higgins, VP & General Manager of Elgin Sweeper, deferred the outlook to parent company Federal Signal which publicly stated, “Our current market conditions remain positive, with strong third quarter order intake. As we begin to look forward into 2020, the strength of our backlog provides us with good visibility into the first half of next year. With the upcoming presidential election and general global economic uncertainty, much of which is outside of our control, we do not have good visibility into the second half of next year at this time. We will continue to monitor market conditions closely.”
        What the future holds for 2020 and beyond varies by industry sector and individual business type. The lessons of the last recession seem not that easily forgotten by local business owners. People are again approaching their business growth with caution yet optimism. Whenever the next downturn occurs, the community is prepared because it has managed to diversify that call Elgin home.