Freund, who served as chief economist of the New York Stock Exchange for 18 years, is a world-renowned expert on productivity, the markets and globalization. At this morning’s seminar he examined the prospects for both the U.S. economy and the RV industry for the coming few years, noting that the RV industry serves as a leading indicator for the economy at large, according to a news release. “I need not tell you that your industry has been through very trying times,” he said. “But the worst of the Great Recession is behind your industry.”
Freund described the current recession as the result of “greed and unbridled optimism,” and the prevailing Wall Street sentiment, “make profits now, worry later.” He said that the nation’s economy is now experiencing an expansion, but that recovery from the recession will be “tepid,” and very slow, with unemployment numbers decreasing only slightly in 2010.
Describing the nation’s “New Normal” economic conditions as including greater consumer savings and less spending, higher unemployment, a weaker dollar, and more government regulation, Freund predicted that technology will continue to fuel the nation’s economic growth. The “New Normal” will prevail for only 3-5 years before the economy fully rebounds.
To adapt to the “New Normal,” Freund encouraged the RV industry to focus on producing affordable products for more frugal consumers, and to continue to embrace innovations in style and products. The industry’s long-term prospects are good, Freund said, with increasingly favorable demographic trends as the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire. “The RV industry is beginning to climb out of the doldrums, and will benefit from entrepreneurship and the spirit of competition,” he said.
“The world is not coming to an end, despite the Great Recession,” Freund concluded. “There are glimmers of hope – the economy is no longer shrinking, recovery has started, and America has shown an ability to adapt to challenges and to survive.”