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|Articles - September 2011|
|Wednesday, August 24, 2011|
We enter the fall with renewed worry over the economy, losing business optimism locally, nationally and globally. Our readers, who were surveyed in late July for this month’s Input, were asked if they thought things in their region were on the right track or headed in the wrong direction. By a large majority, they said they thought things were headed in the wrong direction, with the gap between the optimists and the pessimists widening since 2008.
At the same time, small-business owners were being surveyed nationally by the National Federation of Independent Business and the results were no less disheartening. According to the NFIB survey, only 10% of small-business owners planned to hire. This is a group that has in the past led the hiring rebound post recession, so if this trend continues, it could signal another recession. “Expectations for growth are low and uncertainty is great,” NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg told Portfolio.com.
A survey of more than 1,500 executives worldwide, taken between June 22 and July 29, showed the corporate world was losing faith in the future early on. Conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, it found that almost 34% of respondents expected business conditions in the global economy to worsen over the next six months. Three months earlier, there were twice as many optimists as pessimists.
All three of these surveys were conducted before the stock market began it debt-ceiling gyrations after weeks of political gridlock, and the subsequent downgrading of U.S. debt by Standard & Poor’s. One can imagine how confidence has further dropped since then.
In 2008 and 2009, the business press was flooded with stories making the case for optimism. It’s late 2011 and they’re back. A recent report titled “Why It’s Smart to be Optimistic” by Bloomberg Businessweek reminds again that when the going gets rough it’s time to open your mind to optimism so you can seize opportunities.
I have to agree. I know it is almost impossible not to pull the covers over your head or run for the hills when the bad news flows. But I agree with the Oscar Wilde quip, "The basis of optimism is sheer terror." So take in in the bad news — and try to feel better.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS | OB BLOGGER
The “polar vortex” of 2014 seems to have finally thawed and we believe this change in weather will bring more sunshine to the U.S. economy as well.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
BY MARY SPILDE | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Community college career, technical and workforce programs present an opportunity to bring business and education together as never before.
Friday, March 21, 2014
TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
During a recent talk to HR Directors, I asked if they saw leaders trying to solve every problem, instead of delegating to and empowering staff. Every head nodded. Every single one.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER
It may be obvious, but most farmers don’t make a lot of money. According to preliminary data from the 2012 Agriculture Census, 52% of America’s 2.1 million principal farm-operators don’t call farming their primary occupation. Farm cooperatives may offer a solution.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER
As retailers consolidate and newspapers fold, the business of modeling shifts to ad agencies, apparel companies and new media.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE | OB BLOGGER
The medical research enterprise wastes tens of billions of dollars a year on irrelevant studies. It’s time to fix it.
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