THE ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
Although the economic results for the first quarter were
disappointing at the national level, SIOR members actually
reported good news at the local level in many cases. A total
of 52 percent of SIOR members considered their economy
to be strong and improving. Therefore, while hardly a
“barnburner,” the outlook for the rest of 2015 appears to be
for positive, although probably slow, growth. Regionally,
market performance proved mixed, as the Northeast and
West declined and the other two regions gained. Positively,
all four main regions recorded index values above 100,
signifying market expansion.
• The Midwest retained the highest index value for the
second consecutive quarter, at 122.4.
• The South had the second highest index value—122.1.
• The West region took a small step back, sliding from 117
in the last quarter 2014 to 116.6 in the first quarter 2015.
• The Northeast closed the quarter with an index value of
103.5, three points lower than the previous quarter.
Looking ahead at the second quarter of 2015, SIOR
members remained upbeat, with 81 percent of respondents
pointing to the demand for space growing in the 1-15
percent range. Put differently, the miserable weather of the
first quarter is behind us, and the economy appears headed
towardsexpansion—although probably well below the 3
percent rate historically experienced.
On a positive note, employment trends provided a hopeful
spotlight during the first quarter of 2015, which hopefully
will continue for the rest of the year:
• Payroll employment advanced, with the first quarter
registering a net 767,000 jobs.
• Adjusted for inflation, average hourly earnings of all
employees rose 2. 2 percent on a yearly basis, during the first
• The unemployment rate declined from an average 5. 7
percent in the fourth quarter 2014 to 5. 6 percent in the first
• Consumer confidence, as measured by The Conference
Board, reached 101.3 in the first quarter of this year, the
highest level since the third quarter 2007.