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Sageworks Blog


Private residential construction company revenues up

Real residential fixed investment, up 15.3 percent in the fourth quarter, was a bright spot in this week’s initial report on fourth-quarter GDP, which surprised economy watchers by contracting 0.1 percent from the third quarter. And the growth in Americans’ spending on housing was consistent with “mild but meaningful” revenue increases among privately held residential construction companies. [More]


Private company sales, GDP continue to grow, but what about unemployment?

New data from Sageworks, a financial information company, shows that privately held companies in the United States saw average sales growth of 8.3 percent in the 12-month period ending in April 2012. That’s up slightly from the 2011 growth rate of around 8.2 percent, and up significantly from the low in 2009, when sales declined by an average of almost 6 percent.  Private companies drive over 50 percent of GDP, which grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the first quarter, according to the latest government data. While private company sales and U.S. GDP have been growing consecutively for over two years, another important economic indicator, the national unemployment rate, now at 8.2 percent, has not improved at a similar rate. “In reviewing the numbers, the fear now is that we may be running out of runway before the onset of another recession,” said Sageworks CEO Brian Hamilton, a noted expert on privately held companies. “We will not be surprised to see continued growth in GDP given the fact that privately held companies continue to grow at a healthy rate.  However, what is becoming slightly concerning is that the unemployment rate is not decreasing at a fast enough rate.” In general, and looking over a long period of time, the average expansionary cycle is approximately 4 years, and the average recessionary period is one year, Hamilton explained. “Historically, it has taken approximately 12 to 20 months for unemployment to fall in an expansion to roughly pre-recession levels,” he said. “Right now, we are into the 34th month of the recovery, and yet unemployment remains too high.  If we don’t get employment up, we may be bumping into the next recession, during which time we cannot expect job growth.”


Why are private companies important?

Sageworks collects data on the financial performance of private companies, but why do private companies matter? Out of the 27 million businesses in America, only about 6,200 are publicly traded on the major New York exchanges. The rest are privately held. [More]


Positive economic signs, but confidence lags

Private companies are seeing margins and profits that are higher than they were before the recession, as Sageworks data has shown. But Americans – both consumers and businesses – haven’t yet bought into the recovery in a wholehearted way. Why not? [More]


More like a lamb than a lion, but economy's improving

As March begins, the U.S. economy seems to be running more like a lamb than a lion, despite last week's upward revision of fourth-quarter GDP. Most economists expect slower growth in the current and coming quarters than the 3 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter (vs. an earlier estimate of 2.8 percent). [More]


Trucking sales have picked up

While other parts of the U.S. economy stagger along the road to recovery, the trucking industry is cruising along, performing better than the economy at large. Sales at privately owned general freight and specialized freight trucking companies are up  more than 14 percent over the last 12 months, according to a financial statement analysis of privately held companies by Sageworks. [More]


3Q GDP revised downward; Small employers name growth impediments

The U.S. economy grew a bit more slowly in the third quarter than previously estimated as businesses cut inventories, which could mean they’ll boost production next year if consumer spending stays on track. Meanwhile, a new survey of small employers found that uncertainty and lack of market demand are the major impediments to growth, pointing to a continuation of the slow decline in unemployment. [More]


U.S. 3Q GDP Growth Consistent with Private Company Sales Trends

The U.S. economy this summer grew at its fastest pace in over a year, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, confirming trends that financial information company Sageworks Inc. has seen for months among privately held companies. [More]


As Wall Street Kicks Off 3Q Reports, Main Street Still Kicking

As quarterly profit reports from Wall Street flood in, Sageworks analyzed privately held companies in more than 180 industries and found that 94 percent of those industries posted positive sales growth over the last 12 months.


IMF, Manufacturers' Gloomier Outlooks Support Financial Professionals' View

More pessimistic outlooks by the IMF and Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI this week reinforce what financial professionals have been telling Sageworks in recent weeks: That most of them expect the economy to be about the same or worse a year from now. [More]