OVERVIEW OF BUSINESS ACTIVITY 2nd Quarter, 1996 (April, May, June 1996) Gross income growth for Second Quarter, 1996 was back on track with an 8.6 percent increase over Second Quarter 1995. This compares to a 4.8 percent increase in First Quarter, 1996. Both Fourth Quarter, 1995 and First Quarter, 1996 had slow gross income growth due to the Boeing strike late in 1995 and slow retail sales in First Quarter, 1996. However, much of the increased activity in Second Quarter, 1996 was not from increased retail sales activity, as was expected, but resulted from strong growth in non-retailing areas. Manufacturing was up 12.2 percent, transportation and allied services 13.8 percent, and services and other business 12.3 percent. All these increases represent strong underlying business growth in key industries, while retail consumers continued to exhibit caution. Retail trade was up 5.5 percent in second quarter as consumer restraint was apparent due to rising interest rates during this period, continued expectations of a national recession, and a high level of consumer debt. Within retail trade, only one retail industry showed double-digit growth--furniture, furnishings and equipment was up 11.6 percent largely as the result of a 22.7 percent increase in the electronics/music store category. Apparel and accessories reported strong growth with a 9.7 percent increase. Automotive dealers and gas stations reported an 8.4 percent increase on a 7 percent increase for new and used auto dealers and a 19.1 percent increase in service station income; however, the large increase for service stations was primarily the result of a run-up in gasoline prices. Contract construction, a major industry, reported only a 2.9 percent increase. General building contractors reported a 5 percent increase while heavy construction (including highways) was down 8.9 percent. Special trade contractors (plumbing and heating, electrical, masonry, etc.) was up 4.5 percent. Manufacturing was the engine behind second quarter growth with a 12.2 percent increase. The largest increase within the manufacturing sector was transportation equipment, up 23.9 percent. Although transportation equipment is the largest industry within the manufacturing sector, there was significant growth in other manufacturing industries. Paper and allied products was up 7.6 percent, chemicals and allied products 13.3 percent, fabricated metal products 10.9 percent, machinery 11.7 percent, and printing and publishing 11 percent. The large increase in petroleum refining was due to an SIC reclassification into that industry. Transportation and allied services was up 13.8 percent led by motor freight and warehousing up 28.4 percent. Water, air and transportation services were all higher, but railroads reported a 4.5 percent decline. Communications and utilities was up 5.6 percent with the largest industry in this sector--communication-- up 8 percent. Wholesale trade outperformed the retail sector with an overall 7.2 percent increase. Durable goods was up 7.7 percent with sports equipment up 18.6 percent, lumber and construction equipment up 10.8 percent and electrical goods 12.7 percent. Nondurable goods was up 6.8 percent with a 34.1 percent increase in farm raw materials on continued price run-ups. On the other hand, paper and allied products was down 9.9 percent while petroleum and petroleum products was up 19.3 percent, both changes largely the result of price fluctuations. Finance, insurance and real estate reported strong growth with a 10.1 percent increase. All categories within this sector had strong growth with the exception of finance which was up 5.1 percent. Services and other business was up 12.1 percent due to strong growth in business services which was up 24.4 percent. Within business services, advertising, computer services, and other business services contributed to this double-digit growth. Significant increases in other service sector industries were: motion picture theaters and production up 20 percent, amusement and recreation services 14.4 percent, and engineers and architects 18.5 percent. Overall, it was the strongest year-to-year growth since Third Quarter, 1995. However, growth in the retail sector was less than was expected with the exception of auto dealers and electronic/ music stores.