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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


economic outlook

June 27, 2013

He ought to say "Move over Jon Stewart." Beaulieu had an EDC audience laughing about economic forecasting. Not exactly an easy thing to do. Humor aside, Beaulieu - who serves as principal at ITR Economics - has an impressive record of accurate forecasts - 96.2 percent accuracy looking 12 months into the future. In a fast-paced and animated presentation, Beaulieu gave the crowd what they came for: actionable information about the coming year. He says while GDP has been growing at a tepid pace in 2013 there will be a slowdown in 2014 as industrial production slows. He cautioned not to project 2013 growth rates into 2014. "Focus on efficiencies, training and outsourcing," he said. And as the country grows toward energy independence, Beaulieu sees an increase in manufacturing in the U.S. Longer-term he looks for good years in 2015 – 2018. However, according to Beaulieu’s research, this will be followed by a noticeable recession in 2019.

"The U.S. is fundamentally healthy," he said. "There's more upside than things to worry about." He pointed out that California maps to the U.S. in terms of trends.

Beaulieu mentioned a list of problems including Europe’s financial stability, China’s slowing growth rate and sequestration. But he parried these with quick explanations. Germany and France are committed to the European Union and will exert a strong influence on policy. China will not melt down; the new leadership is taking a longer view and is letting growth slow down as the government sets up for economic stability. Using a chart to contrast projected spending before and after sequestration, Beaulieu made it clear that the delta between the two is small compared to overall spending.

The presentation included some very positive observations about Mexico’s economy. “Their manufacturing index is up, they are producing better goods, and their management is national now – not ex-pat,” Beaulieu said, at one point calling it “Canada to the South.”

You can check out Alan's presentation here.