BMO’s experts share their economic analysis in first ever U.S. Blue Book
For the first time, we’re bringing our flagship economic research report, BMO Blue Book, to the U.S.
The BMO Blue Book combines the expertise of BMO Economics with insights from our Commercial Bank leaders on the state of the U.S. economy as a whole and on 11 local regions – Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon), Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Florida.
“The U.S. economy remains resilient, with real GDP appearing to have picked up to a 4.5 per cent annualized rate in Q3 from 2.1 per cent in Q2. That is not to be expected following the most aggressive course of monetary tightening in four decades. However, the economy looks to decelerate next year. High borrowing costs and rising home prices have sent affordability to the worst levels in nearly 40 years.”
– Michael Gregory
Deputy Chief Economist, BMO
“In many ways it’s a tale of two economies, with slowing consumer spending negatively impacting certain areas of the economy such as retail and consumer finance, while other pockets like manufacturing and distribution are still positive. BMO has helped its commercial clients navigate all economic cycles for over 200 years and we are uniquely positioned to continue to help our clients in these challenging times.”
– Ray Whitacre
Head, BMO Commercial Bank, U.S.
The BMO Blue Book covers key regions including:
- Northern California’s economy is cooling off after a respectable second quarter performance. Challenging housing affordability and high costs of living continue to be an impediment for stronger economic activity.
- Companies are focusing on their capital expenditure and finding new ways to remain lean in the current economic climate.
- Southern California’s economy is still on track for a soft-landing in 2024. Leisure and hospitality, education and health care, and other services have been leading Southern California’s job growth over the past year.
- Southern California is a resilient and diversified economy and businesses are performing well relative to the rest of the country.
- The sharp increase in interest rates engineered by the Fed beginning in March of 2022 has pressured the state’s housing market. Higher mortgage rates have lowered affordability and prompted homeowners with low-rate mortgages to stay put, reducing the inventory of existing homes for sale.
- The strength and resiliency of the job market is proving to be very good for the state. BMO Economists are optimistic about its continued stability. Aided by the increase in inbound migration among other factors, consumer spending has also remained steady in Colorado.
- Texas’ growth rate is expected to improve this year, supported by population and job growth, up-trending crude oil production along with increased investment spending on infrastructure and in the microchip and clean energy sectors.
- Texas businesses have a renewed focus on efficiency. The cost of capital has remained high given the current interest rate environment and an improved labor market, and so, business leaders are optimizing their workforce and investing in technology that creates efficiency.
- The Wisconsin economy underperformed last year, with a slowing manufacturing sector, outside the automotive sector, and shrinking labor force weighing heavy.
- Business leaders and managers have been creative, flexible, and innovative when figuring out how to deal with high inflation rates and a fluctuating economy. They have found ways to reinvent themselves with new products and more efficient operations, resulting in strong balance sheets and cash flows.
- The Illinois economy grew modestly below the national average last year, with a contracting state population constraining stronger outcomes.
- The recent emphasis in investment in the tech sector in Illinois continues to be very promising. This investment has helped create a large and diverse economy in the state such that stakeholders are not reliant on the success of just one or two strong sectors anymore.
- The Florida economy topped the growth leaderboard last year. Real gross state product came in at 4.6 per cent, more than double the national average.
- Florida continues to be a top state for in-migration, owing to the great climate, low taxes, and business friendly environment. Though interest rates are currently high, we are optimistic that they will begin to ease soon, providing some relief to Florida business owners regarding their investments and their ability to spur economic activity.
To view the full report, visit the BMO Economics site.