“SEMA Industry Indicators” Report
While consumer spending remains robust, rising inflation is dampening consumer confidence, according to the latest “SEMA Industry Indicators” report.
While U.S. economic growth was underwhelming in the third quarter, incoming economic data suggests growth revved up in the fourth quarter, barring any major setbacks from the Omicron coronavirus variant or other major uncertainties, according to the latest “SEMA Industry Indicators” report.
Consumers look positioned to continue to spend money. Savings rates remain well above pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, there continues to be extremely strong demand for workers, and wages are rising as a result. However, rising inflation is dampening consumer confidence, with sentiment dropping to a decade low in November. Despite that, expect consumer spending to continue.
However, the availability of things to buy remains constrained. Inventory levels for new vehicles continue to be low. Dealer levels typically cover roughly two and a half months of sales. Today, they can only cover about two weeks on average. Backlogs at West Coast ports remain a challenge. As a result, pent-up demand continues to build. This will likely fuel solid growth through at least the first half of 2022.
To learn more about the latest trends affecting the economy and the specialty-equipment industry, download the latest “SEMA Industry Indicators” report today at www.sema.org/research.
SEMA Scholarship Applications Now Open
The 2022 SEMA Scholarship application period for students preparing for careers in the automotive or auto parts industries is now open.
The SEMA Memorial Scholarship Fund offers financial assistance of up to $5,000 to foster the next generation of automotive aftermarket industry leaders and innovators. A loan forgiveness component is also available to employees of SEMA-member companies who have completed their studies and are currently paying off a loan for a program at an accredited university, college or vocational/technical program within the United States.
“College is expensive, and receiving a SEMA scholarship can help ease financial concerns for current students and recent graduates who have outstanding student debt,” said Byron Bergmann, SEMA member services project manager. “Reducing cost also means students have more time to focus their studies toward a career in our industry. That gives them a competitive advantage and can empower them to reach their academic and career goals.”
Scholarships are available in a variety of categories, including but not limited to accounting, sales, marketing and engineering. Eligible students and SEMA-member company employees can apply at www.sema.org/scholarships until March 1, 2022.
››› Students preparing for careers in the automotive industry can now apply for tuition assistance from the SEMA Memorial Scholarship fund through March 1, 2022.
SEMA Launches Education Library for Automotive Professionals
The new, free SEMA Virtual Education Portal can keep automotive pros up to date on the latest consumer trends, advances in technology and industry best practices.
SEMA has launched a new online education library to provide the automotive aftermarket with easy and affordable year-round access to experts and
From technical details about advanced driver-assistance systems and legislative and advocacy updates to best practices and tips on common business skills and behind-the-scenes conversations with industry leaders, celebrities and icons, the new SEMA Virtual Education Portal at www.sema.org/education includes a comprehensive collection of educational webinars and resources targeted to the automotive aftermarket.
“The SEMA Virtual Education Portal provides the automotive aftermarket with a one-stop shop of industry-leading education and resources that will support the industry throughout the year,” said Gary Vigil, SEMA senior manager of professional development. “The portal is user-friendly and provides businesses and employees with a convenient way to learn best practices and increase their knowledge in order to advance in their careers.”
More than 50 on-demand sessions are already housed on the SEMA Virtual Education website. Searchable categories include but are not limited to marketing and sales, small-business strategies, legislative and regulatory, trends and research, vehicle technology, and professional development. New content will be added weekly.
Users can access the program and create a personal profile at www.sema.org/education.
Harbor Freight Tools Foundation Donates $100,000 to SEMA Student and Charity Initiatives
Nationwide tool and equipment retailer Harbor Freight Tools has announced a donation of $100,000 to SEMA Cares and the SEMA Scholarship Fund. The donation is intended to support SEMA’s outreach to youth in need on a variety of levels.
“SEMA wishes to thank the Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC for their incredible generosity,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “This is a unique and significant gift that will benefit the many young people served by our association’s charity and scholarship programs. We greatly appreciate the support to the association and the industry that this donation represents.”
Harbor Freight Tools, a national tool store chain owned and led by Eric Smidt, has more than 1,200 locations across the United States. Through The Smidt Foundation, Smidt launched the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, which awards more than $1 million annually to 18 outstanding U.S. public high school skilled trades teachers and their programs. The prize is just one part of a broader aim to increase understanding, support and investment in skilled trades education in U.S. public high schools.
“We are thrilled to support the important work of SEMA Cares,” said Smidt. “The SEMA Scholarship Fund provides much needed support for the education journey of young people working in the automotive industry. We especially applaud the ways these scholarships help recognize and nurture talent and open doors of opportunity.”
Established in 2007, SEMA Cares seeks to mobilize the aftermarket to improve the lives of children in need by supporting such charities as the Austin Hatcher Foundation for pediatric cancer, Childhelp for the prevention and treatment of child abuse, and the Victory Junction camp for children with serious medical conditions and illnesses. In addition, the SEMA Scholarship Fund and Loan Forgiveness programs offer students from all academic and technical disciplines within the automotive industry help with college tuition and student loans.