January President's Message
Happy New Year!!! For only the second time in decade—dating back to before the Great Recession began in December of 2007—the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, on December 14 announced a quarter percent (0.25%) increase in its benchmark interest rates, in hopes of keeping the inflation rate low with 2017 ringing in a new President along with the new year.
The increase by 25 basis points (each point equals 1/110th of one percent, or 0.01%) will raise the target federal funds rates (TFFR) from between a quarter percent to half percent and from a half percent to three-quarters of a percent.
While Republican nominee Donald J. Trump’s electoral victory in the November 8 Presidential Election shocked many across these United States and around the world, investors in America’s stock markets reacted positively with the Standard and Poors (S&P) 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ reaching record levels within the next two weeks.
However, that booming stock market also resulted in a dramatic drop in bond prices and hikes in mortgage interest rates.
Historically, the stock market ticks up following most Presidential elections—by averages of nine percent for the Democrats and six percent for the Republicans—as a degree of the investors’ political cycle of uncertainty is assuaged. Richard Nixon and George W. Bush are the only American Presidents who experienced negative market returns during their terms in office.
In announcing the rate increase, Fed Chair Janet Yellen noted the “considerable progress” that the U.S. economy has made with an inflation rate holding steady at less than two percent (1.7%) and an unemployment rate back to historical norms (5%), down from double digits.
The Fed, which increased its TFFR by 25 basis points in 2015, is projecting the U.S. economy to grow 2.1% in 2017, up from about 1.9% in 2016, and anticipates three increases to reach at yearend interest rate of 1.4%.
On Februarys 3, William A. Strauss, Senior Economist and Economic Advisor in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, will deliver the Keynote Address at the 15th Annual Economic Outlook Luncheon for the 10th year in a row. The multi-chamber event is organized by the Westmont Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau and our Chamber, with 11 other west suburban chambers joining us. Click HERE to register as a sponsor, exhibitor or attendee.
President-elect Trump has announced that he plans to replace Yellen, who should be “ashamed of herself,” according to him, with a Republican when her term ends in 2018.
“State of Our City” Mayoral Address
Elmhurst Mayor Steve Morley will deliver his fourth "State of Our City" Mayoral Address at the Chamber's Membership Breakfast sponsored by Community Bank of Elmhurst, 330 West Butterfield Road, on Tuesday, January 10, from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. The event is free, but seating is limited to 150. Complimentary food and beverages will be provided. Click HERE to register.
Mayor Morley, City Clerk Patty Spencer and City Treasurer all are unopposed in seek re-election in the April 4, 2017, Consolidated Elections.
98th Annual Awards Gala
Our Chamber will stage its 98th Annual Awards Gala in the Three Oaks Ballroom and Flower Room of The Drake Oak Brook Hotel on Friday, January 27, from 5 to 9 p.m. The evening will feature a Pre-Awards Social at 5 p.m., Awards Ceremony at 6 p.m. and Awards After-Party at 7 p.m. Click HERE to register.
Eight members are celebrating Chamber anniversaries in January, as follows: 50 years—Elmhurst Suburban Life and York Furrier; 25 years—WEST STUDIO architects & Construction Services; 20 years—West Hill Auto Body; and 15 years—Montalbano, Visitation Church, West Suburban Community Church and Yorkfield Presbytertian Church.
The Chamber welcomed three new members in December, as follows: One Fifty One Kitchen/Bar, PERL Mortgage and Zelko Aesthetics/ZBodySculpt.
Thanks to One Fifty One for hosting an Open House for Chamber members as part of its December 15 ribbon cutting with our green-coated Ambassadors.
Fifi’s Tailor & Custom Design reactivated its Chamber membership in December.
No Longer Members
The Chamber said goodbye to the following seven members in December: Big Shoulders Crossfit, Brows by Susan, Choice Office Equipment and Supplies, In Home Personal Services, Leapfrog Technology Group, McCulley Financial Group and Sun-Times Media.
The Big Loser…Yes!!!
Nearly a year ago, Chamber staff (and members) participated in The Big Loser Challenge and my weight loss went from 217 pounds to less than 210 towards my decade-long goal of cracking the 200-pound plateau—which I managed to achieve over the Christmas weekend thanks to a back case of stomach flu. Winner, winner, chicken soup.