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Economic Forecast and Employment Trends

Published February 15, 2020


Sheryll Poe, Profile Picture, 175x175

Sheryll Poe


J.D. Power’s Jonathan Banks summed up the economic outlook for auto dealers in 2020 by stating simply, “Enjoy the momentum.”

Banks, vice president of Vehicle Valuations & Analytics at J.D. Power, joined NADA Senior Economist Patrick Manzi for a discussion of economic trends in the automotive industry.

“2020 is probably going to be the best year for the used car market,” said Banks, who pointed to a good mix of inventory and an influx of new, younger buyers as two factors pushing the upward momentum in the segment. Banks and Manzi were speaking at the Live Stage during the NADA Show in Las Vegas.

Manzi had a similarly optimistic outlook for both the new-light-vehicle and used-car markets. “I’m looking forward to another great year in 2020,” Manzi said. Thanks to three interest rate cuts late in 2019 and a big push in fleet sales, sales of new light vehicles surpassed 17.1 million last year, the fifth straight year of more than 17 million units sold. For 2020, Manzi said he expects sales to reach 16.8 million units: “a solid and respectful market.”

See what Manzi and Banks cited as factors driving industry-wide economic growth.’s Tina Amelchenko joined Manzi on the Live Stage to provide an overview of what she called “a candidate centric” labor market, during a separate economic session presented by With a record low unemployment rate of 3.6%, employers, including in the automotive sector—which Manzi noted employs more than 1.1 million people in the United States—are having to get creative in their recruitment and retention practices. Some dealerships are offering more flexible schedules, time off and, of course, better pay plans. “They’re changing their policies to be more in line with the next generation of workers,” Manzi said.

Check out the video of this session and watch other live coverage all weekend from the NADA Live Stage.