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We saw improvement, albeit modest, in industry performance from the first-quarter results to the first half of 2019, but so far it’s a different year than last year. With marginal demand growth and a continued lengthening of the collection cycle, 2019 has reverted to a rate story. Meanwhile, expenses have continued to grow at a faster pace than revenue, placing pressure on margins. Looking ahead, the back half of the year should benefit from strong inventory balances at the midyear point. It will be a challenge for the industry to see a repeat of 2018’s strong performance in this year’s results, but expect it to be a good year relative to earlier post-recession years.

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