The International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) 74th Annual Meeting was held May 6-8 in Austin, Texas at the Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Attended by a “Who’s Who” of safety equipment manufacturers, the meeting agenda was designed to keep executives up-to-date on industry trends and advancements.

Alan Beaulieu from the Institute for Trend Research presented “Trends and Drivers for Use of PPE: Forecast of U.S. and Global Industrial Outlook.”

Mr. Beaulieu is a senior analyst, economist and principal for the Institute for Trend Research (ITR) in Concord, N.H. He consults and advises companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia on how to plan for and prosper through the business cycle. ITR analyzes market/economic trends and accurately projects when those trends will change in such areas as specific U.S. and overseas industrial, construction and agricultural market movement; interest rates; exchange rates; commodity prices and inflation.

Good long-term growth
ITR is predicting a 2.7 percent rate of GDP growth in 2007 and 2.4 percent GDP growth in 2008, stagnant growth in 2009 and a slowdown in 2010. One reason cited is the continued problem in the housing market and a predicted slowdown in consumer spending due to greater debt load by consumers.

ITR predicts the demographics in the near term are also a problem — mainly because of the aging population, but long term, ITR predicts the demographics for the U.S. “look great.” They cited the United Nations’ prediction that the 300 million U.S. population will grow to 400-500 million by 2050. This means more consumers and more labor and more new ideas.

Other observations and predictions reported by ITR:

• Manufacturing as a percentage of GDP has grown steadily over the last 20 years despite media reports — up to about 36 percent of GDP, while manufacturing employment has declined from 18.9 percent in 1980 to 9.8 percent of the civilian labor force.

• The service economy is growing despite media reports of jobs going overseas.

• The euro will not replace the dollar as the international currency standard.

• There will be a very steady decline in the Russian population.

• The top countries to bet hard assets on include the U.S., India, Indonesia and Australia, while avoiding China, Japan, Russia and Europe.