This week's economic snapshot suggests business spending may soon stabilize.
What the data shows: Taxable sales in the business-investment category include store and office equipment, paper and packaging, transportation equipment, industrial machinery, hotel and restaurant supplies, computers, medical supplies, commercial rentals and farm equipment. Data is for January, the latest available.
What it means: Business confidence didn't return in January, as business investment continued to drop by double-digit annual percentage rates in every area of the Gulf Coast except Sarasota. Business investment fell more sharply on the Gulf Coast on an annual percentage-change basis than the state as a whole (-8.3%). Fort Myers posted the largest drop in business investment in the state in January (-17.1%) and Ocala posted the largest gain (1.5%).
Forecast: The annual percentage drops in business investment haven't been as steep in recent months, suggesting that business spending on the Gulf Coast may stabilize later this year. However, because of continued economic and political uncertainty, it doesn't appear that businesses are prepared to go on a spending spree. Instead, companies are hoarding cash to protect against unexpected downturns.