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Landscape Communications Chairs Forecasting Seminar

Landscape Communications' Research, Statistics and Information Services department manager, Jim Lipot, MBA (standing), discusses the importance of forecasting and the study of economic indicators with conference attendees at the Land Development Conference and Expo, held recently in Baltimore.

Forecasting and studying economic indicators and their impact on the landscape and development industries was at the heart of a session chaired by Landscape Communications at the recently held Land Development Conference and Expo in Baltimore. Jim Lipot, MBA, manager of Landscape Communications' Research, Statistics and Information Services department, spoke to development industry officials including: Stephen Carter, a landscape architect with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Brigadier General Patrick Burns; Michael Waldman, chief financial officer of Iott Architecture and Engineering; and a plethora of presidents and vice presidents of development firms and municipalities from around the country.

The December year-end issues of Landscape Architect and Specifier News and Landscape Contractor National both feature a variety of economic forecasts for the following year. These forecasts include housing starts, labor trends, real estate tendencies, interest rates and infrastructure development. According to Lipot, this type of data is crucial in the development industry.

"Historical projections serve as the baseline that companies use to demonstrate to their financial backers that the company continues to remain profitable," Lipot said. "The use of historical projections will demonstrate a pattern that will be an indicator of future performance, provided no major changes to one's business plan or unforeseen events occur."

During the seminar, Lipot noted that the U.S. government offers a wealth of information that can be used as tools in forecasting business trends. Agencies on the federal level that have this information include: the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Census Bureau, the Office of Federal Enterprise Oversight and the White House. The states also offer a wealth on information. "For simplified projections, the information supplied by these agencies can be used as is," Lipot said. "When being used for more complicated projections, additional tools and interpretation are required."

Indicators used in forecasting within the development industry include: The Gross Domestic Product, domestic migration and immigration figures, interest rates, inflation rates and housing data. Lipot also listed common errors that are made when attempting to complete economic forecasts, including accepting that all information using statistics is true, a correct formula used once will automatically be correct in the future, and using old habits to evaluate new and changing data.

The most recent LASN and LCN Forecasts, published in the December 2003 editions of the magazines, can be viewed at In addition, the full text of Lipot's seminar at the Land Development Conference and Expo can be viewed on the website.

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December 6, 2019, 12:47 pm PDT

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