I’ve been a business owner since Spring of 1981. The first firm was in Chicago; our current and second company, Communicators, started there, too, but we relocated to Maine in ’96. Since day one, there always were a number of ups and downs, but nothing at all like the gloomy downs we’ve all experienced with America’s economy the last four or five years. I get together with fellow business owners, and what I hear constantly is “How much more can one cut back? How much more can one ration?”
However lately, I’m actually hearing some good stuff. Maybe this has to do with the fact that our winter hasn’t been a bleak, depressing one with crippling cold weather and blizzards detouring our plans. Maybe it has to do with what we’re reading in the news. This came out yesterday:
The recovery takes root.
As far back as the spring of 2009, economists were on watch for signs of growth — the “green shoots” signaling the worst was over. Now we’re finally getting signals that those elusive shoots are connected to.
Reports of decent economic strength are popping up all over the economy, from gaming and retail to the critical housing and auto sectors. We’re even seeing solid strength in manufacturing, a sector many people still wrongly write off as dead in the U.S. We’re not off to the races by any means. But the signs suggest growth will be stronger than many expect in 2012 — meaning it might be time to buy stocks. And recent signs have been good. Weekly unemployment claims have fallen decisively below 400,000 — a key battle line for that indicator. Experts predict they will drift below 300,000 by the end of the year. That would revive consumer confidence and spending, especially on cars and houses. Many pundits agree that those tend to be the most significant consumer items that really stimulate the economy.
The recovery is starting, we’re finally seeing the light. Maybe, and I truly believe this, is that Americans are simply just sick and tired of being overly cautious and looking for the worst. The “go-for-it” mentality which this country was built upon is slowly coming back. Maybe it will never be like 2005 when we’d meet with clients at The Gansevoort’s rooftop and pickup three rounds of designer cocktails at those exorbitant NYC prices before going out to dinner, thinking it was nothing but the cost of doing business. Maybe we’ve learned our lesson about being a bit too decadent, a bit too carefree with our spending.
But in doing so, maybe we’ve also learned how to manage our money better and thus, manage our respective businesses with a little more monetary controls. And collectively, that means we all become a bit healthier, both in our spirits and our pocketbooks.
3-13-12 Gorgeous day on the pier in Portland, ME.