Positive signs

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If you continue to listen to the mainstream media and all of the gloom-and-doomers out there, you’d think the economy was on the verge of disaster. Without a doubt, it’s hard to remain optimistic when your head is being filled with emotional poison. Well, turn it off.” –Jim Walton, president & CEO, Brand Acceleration, Inc.

Tell you one thing: if had to abandon a sinking ship, I'd make damned sure Jim Walton was in the same lifeboat as me. I don’t know that he has any maritime experience and, frankly, I wouldn’t care – this guy is upbeat in the face of tough times, and let me tell you, we sure need a lot of that in this day and age.

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Walton – president & CEO of Brand Acceleration; an advertising, brand management and public relations firm operating from Indianapolis, IN and Charlotte, NC – recently sent out a newsletter entitled “Economy on the Rebound: Positive signs that the recession may be over.” While he’s plenty realistic enough to admit that tough times still lay ahead, he’s of a mind that if we as Americans don’t roll up our sleeves and get cracking like we always do, those tough times are just going to hang around like yellowing newspapers.

I’d like to share Walton’s take on things with you, for while they are not necessarily trucking related, I think truckers can find plenty to relate to in his words. Jim, the floor is yours:

“I know it may be hard to accept, but this thing – this recession – will end. In fact, it may well be over. There is still good news out there and it’s coming faster every day. Is it all rosy and nice? No! It’s still difficult and will remain that way for a while. However, it’s important that you hang on and be a positive force for others to emulate.

Spending a lot of time with economic developers and construction industry people, I am always pleased at the number of positive stories I hear. New projects are entering the pipeline and pending projects are beginning to find funding. It is also very gratifying to notice how positive these people remain. Are they just blind optimists? I don’t think so. These are people who know that they have to push forward, work hard and make things happen. Simply sitting on the sideline with the whiners will do nothing but send them to the unemployment line.

But as I said, there is good news out there. For example, here are a few stories you may not have heard on the evening news or read in the newspapers:

Consumer confidence is rising: U.S. consumer confidence rose in June to the highest level since February 2008, as expectations grew that the worst economic recession since the Great Depression may be ending. Since the November 2008 low of 55.3, the sentiment index has gained 15.5 points, up to 70.8, recouping about one-third of the loss posted since the peak in January 2007.

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Consumer spending is coming back: U.S. consumer spending rose in June for the first time since February as incomes rose sharply, the Commerce Department recently announced, supporting the view that the economy was pulling out of recession. Consumer spending, which accounts for over 70% of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.3% in May after an upwardly revised flat reading in April. Mark Vitner, an economist with Wachovia in Charlotte, NC, said the data suggested the economy was on a better trajectory heading into the third quarter.

U.S. durable goods orders are expanding: An unexpected jump in U.S. durable goods orders in June backed hopes the economy was healing, a prospect cautiously supported by the Federal Reserve.

Things are beginning to look up. Good news is all around us and brighter days are not far off. Pledge to yourself to avoid negative news sources and to stay clear of people who only serve to bring you down. Keep selling, keep promoting and keep up the good fight. I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

Let’s just hope, of course, that “light” isn’t the headlamp of a runaway locomotive coming down at us through the tunnel, though. (Hah! Sorry, Jim – just couldn’t resist!) Seriously, though, Walton makes some very good points here. Whether we believe it or not, this recession is going to end – so it’s up to all of us to find a way to hold on until it does.

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Trucks at Work: Sean Kilcarr comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry.

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