The New Year approaches, triggering the annual reflex to assess the year gone by. It was a year of impressive anniversaries for Oregon Business: the magazine turned 30, and our 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project turned 18.
The past few years have been pretty tough on publishing and I, like most of you, feel lucky to have weathered the storm.
But is the storm over? That’s the central question of our cover story, which asks: What’s ahead? After many interviews where we asked the experts to peer into their crystal balls and tell us what 2012 might bring, the answer is not clear. That’s usually the problem with crystal balls. The indicators are mixed and the Optimism Barometer depends on your industry. In housing? So sorry. Exporting goods? You’re doing OK. Retail? Well, let’s wait and see how this holiday shopping season turns out. As writer Jon Bell describes the economic weather report: heavy gray skies will continue to hang around with a few small bright spots to help pierce the gray.
But Oregon’s business community has not let the gloom keep them from some impressive accomplishments this past year. In our September issue, managing editor Linda Baker wrote about how business leadership scored a triumph in education reform in this year’s legislative session, and in this issue she reports on another business-supported effort, the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange. The exchange would allow employers with fewer than 50 workers to shop for health insurance while qualifying for tax credits. How both of these efforts move forward will make the 2012 legislative session that starts Feb. 1 even more critical to the business community.
It’s interesting to note this month’s Input survey as we head into the teeth of the local and national political season. We polled readers on how much they trust — or don't — various sources of information, and political parties and candidates for office came in dead last. Business-oriented magazines came in second. I know one business-oriented magazine that takes that as a challenge to get to No. 1. Or at least stay ahead — and above — the politics.