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The stock market is up, NASDAQ hit its highest close in 11 years, gas prices are on the rise... Are you seeing an improvement in the Economy?

 Do you feel the economy is improving and if so, at what pace (slow, crawl, quickly) and what geographic area are you defining are you in.  What do you see as the 12-18 month outlook?

For example, I'm in New York City and I've see a continual improvement for the last year, alabeit a slow improvement for those outside  Wall Street.  An example is that restuarants and shops, home depot and building projects around me are doing well.  

The SMB marketspace is still nervous and lead times for investments that could be considered capital are slow.  Some of my clients are tied to the advertising industry and they have been gaining ground since 2009, with 2011 being a very good year, so major advertisers are spending money.

My feeling is that as long as Europe doesn't do a belly flop and gasoline doesn't sprial out of control we'll be ok, not great (or not better soomer than later) but by 2014 our economy will be back churning (again, probably not like 2008).

However, if Greece crashes and gas goes through the roof; the Great Depression is going to look like a mild recession.

 

 

Answers

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

Not only do I hope you're right, I think you're right. Many of the CFOs I know are reasonably bullish on 2012 with stronger growth expected than in the past 4 years and, dare I say it, there seems to be more momentum behind this recent upturn than some other false starts we've have in the past. Agree that Greece is the biggest question mark. If that goes, we're in big trouble. I don't think gas would impact more than a few tenths off of GDP. Let's face it, gas has been much more expensive in the last decade than it is now, and that was not cause for a downturn, although it did slow things down. I think it's mostly news-cycle-driven hysteria b/c they don't have anything good to talk about right now :).

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Jeff,

While I don't disagree with your news-cycle-driven hysteria, there a kernel of truth and as they say, "where there's smoke, there's fire".

I think you downplaying the risks to the country with an ever increasing energy cost. That will spiral all our prices up, further diminishing income and putting (or raising the level) where economic pressure is being felt.

Some people feel that Greece is a fait accompli, and that more nations will fold as both the public and the politicians a) don't want to get off the entitlement gravy train and b) refuse to make the tough unpopular decisions.

Jeff Taylor
Title: CFO
Company: Communications Co.
(CFO, Communications Co.) |

I'm with you. There are many times I have thought that Greece was going to bite it hard and that would be one nasty domino in a chain. Boy do I hope that does not happen!

I also hear what you are saying vis-a-vis gas prices. I did not mean to imply that it's meaningless. Far from it. But we have had innumerable fuel cost scares over the decades and most just go away having shaved a few tenths. Iran is to gas what Greece is to global currency right now.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

Speaking of Iran, with Israel ramping up to nuke it, the US on one hand saber-rattling and the other saying diplomacy can still work, do you see a bigger or a second domino effect?

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

In NC we are seeing a similar upward trend as you mention in NY. Builders have slowly started building again and houses are slowly selling. My biggest concern is still the foreclosures sitting stagnant by the banks. The construction industry is picking up momentum, which is normally a good sign. I'm loving the low interest rates. I'm trying to keep a close watch in Healthcare Reform as that I feel is going to be a game changer come January for many. It's an interesting time to be a CFO.

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