Consolidation Continues in the US Paper & Paperboard Industry

Consolidation Continues in the US Paper & Paperboard Industry

Due to continued competitive pressures, such as a slow-growing market for their products, the US paper and paperboard industry - already dominated by large, vertically integrated firms - continues to consolidate.


Two Alternatives to Conventional Insurance: Self-Funded & Provider-Owned

Two Alternatives to Conventional Insurance: Self-Funded & Provider-Owned

Self-funded plans represent one alternative to conventional risk-based insurance. In addition, healthcare providers (eg, hospital systems) are offering another option, provider-owned plans.


Lego’s Loss May Not be Competitors’ Gain

Lego’s Loss May Not be Competitors’ Gain

Earlier this month, Lego announced that it would cut 1,400 jobs after reporting revenue and profit both fell in the first half of 2017, driven by declines in US sales. Much of the discussion around this story has focused on contributing factors within the company. However, these declines may also signal waning popularity in construction toys.


Trucks Are the Next Major Frontier in Electric Vehicles

Trucks Are the Next Major Frontier in Electric Vehicles

In the highly competitive trucking industry, fleet operators seek to increase fuel efficiency as a means to reduce operating costs. In addition, regulations are prompting medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) vehicle manufactures to increase investments in technologies that can to boost fuel economy and limit emissions.


Housing Market Shifting to Satisfy Millennials

Housing Market Shifting to Satisfy Millennials

US housing starts are forecast to reach 1.6 million units in 2021, with homebuilders benefiting from strengthening consumer finances and rising levels of employment. At the same time, sales of existing homes are expected to reach 6.0 million units, with the fastest gains occurring in the South. Although economic recovery has helped consumers achieve higher incomes to purchase homes, rising home prices and a shortage of available properties is presently a detriment to first-time homebuyers, especially millennials.


Shift to Cans Gaining Steam Among Craft Brewers

Shift to Cans Gaining Steam Among Craft Brewers

US beer demand is forecast to reach 6.6 billion gallons in 2021. Rising disposable personal income levels will stimulate consumer spending on beer. However, over the 2006-2016 period, demand for beer in volume terms fell at an average annual rate of 0.3% as the market matured and beer lost market share to other alcoholic beverages, especially among key demographics including baby boomers and millennials.


Will Healthcare Inflation Remain at Historically Low Rates?

Will Healthcare Inflation Remain at Historically Low Rates?

The slowdown in healthcare cost inflation, often attributed to the 2007-2009 recession, has generated questions such as what caused it and whether it will last. Notably, as Figure 1 shows, the rate of healthcare inflation has dropped to historically low levels, suggesting structural factors could also be a major driver of the slowdown.


Called It – Resellers are Trending in Telecom

Called It – Resellers are Trending in Telecom

US telecommunication service revenues are forecast to grow to $734 billion in 2021. Gains will be supported by increased service bundling activity, as consumers are motivated to purchase more options when individual services are offered at a discounted rate.


Domestic Cruise Industry Sails to Growth

Domestic Cruise Industry Sails to Growth

Ocean and domestic water cruises continue to attract consumer interest, as they offer a unique experience and numerous destinations per trip. In particular, consumer interest is piqued by the increased availability of cruises that explore local gems such as the Alaska Coast, Puget Sound, Columbia River, the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Providers of domestic cruises, which travel on the US coasts and inland waterways, are benefiting from this trend.


Falling Acreage of Planted Crops Weighing on Fertilizer Demand

Falling Acreage of Planted Crops Weighing on Fertilizer Demand

US demand for fertilizers is forecast to fall to 28.1 million metric tons in 2021. As structural changes in agricultural markets lead to declining acreage of planted crops, less fertilizer will be needed to sustain plant growth. Additionally, fertilizers are improving such that higher crop yields can be obtained with smaller volumes of fertilizer, inhibiting demand.