J. Scott Hazelton, senior principal and director of the construction services practice of IHS Global Insight, pointed to the positive and negative forces affecting the 2011 economy during a presentation in Las Vegas last week.
Hazelton addressed the Presidents Council Advisory Board during the National Hardware Show last week.
"Things are getting better, but you still need to be patient," Hazelton said.
The IHS forecast calls for 2011 housing starts to finish the year at about 610,000, up 3.9% from 586,900 in 2010.
On the positive side of the macroeconomic picture, Hazelton pointed to a strong growth in manufacturing, healing financial markets, corporations flush with cash, an improving labor market and stimulus from the tax package.
Pushing the economy in the negative direction, he said, are the following factors: consumers and businesses remain cautious, no housing recovery, rising commodity prices, Japan's earthquake disrupting the automotive industry, state and local budget cuts, and federal fiscal tightening ahead.
The Home Improvement Presidents Council provides a forum for buyers and sellers to build relationships and exchange information through various programs at the senior management level worldwide.