We anticipate price growth to continue at a slower rate during the third quarter, with the possibility of a slight decline in the near future, as a temporary market correction. Increases in pessimism resulting from political and market volatility have limited demand-side inflationary pressures, with the current expansion having already persisted for a record length of time. However, supply chain disruptions combined with increasing private and public sector debt levels support a cyclical contraction in the near-term.
For the balance of 2019, we anticipate labor prices increasing significantly due to the aforementioned reduction in supply being only partially offset by the softening of demand growth. We also anticipate material prices increasing at rates comparable to normal economic inflation. As more international trade agreements become finalized—assuaging the uncertainty and fears of many countries—more government stimuli are set in motion, and free market forces have more time to bear fruit, we anticipate growth continuing through the end of the year, although more muted than the growth rate of the previous year.
Looking ahead to 2019, we anticipate material prices will reverse course, being currently near their pre tariff-spike levels, and start increasing, due to strong demand and more tariffed product reaching the market. Continued issues with finding experienced and highly-productive workers will continue to escalate labor prices. Due to these factors, as well as macro indicators suggesting economic growth slowing in late 2019, we recommend planning for most escalation to happen in the first half of the year, with growth slowing in each of the final two quarters.