Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Summer in March

It is being called summer in March in much of the United States, where warm May-like weather has arrived two months early. Just as the quiet winter helped to boost the economy, as money not spent on snow removal and heat became available for other spending, the early end to winter will also help to reduce energy imports normally used for heating at this time of year. The warm weather may not directly boost consumer spending. For example, with almost summer-like weather, clothing shoppers may want to skip the spring season and look for summer clothes. On the other hand, the money saved from heating will cover a boost in consumer spending that already took place in December and January, along with the recent higher prices for transportation fuel.

In the business world, though, the money saved on heating will show up in the budgets at the end of the month, and will surely lead to new hiring, spending on improvements, and other accelerated spending, depending on the business. A March heat wave is not an economic trend, of course, but it can offer a bit of support to trends that are already taking shape.