Saturday, October 8, 2011

Call me Polly Anna

Call me an incurable optimist. Although there is a long way to go, I'm seeing hopeful signs in the economy. Maybe it's just Michigan or the Midwest. And anything could go wrong and turn things back into recession. But I keep seeing and hearing things to smile about.

A short list.

Everybody I know that was looking for a job, has one. How did that happen? I heard an NPR story about how employment agencies are having trouble finding qualified manufacturing workers for their manufacturer clients. Just plain weird.

This year, I had a couple of windows replaced and the trim on the house painted (much too high off the ground for me). The paint company is using a new tech paint, so that's a little special, but they were up 20%+ in 2010 and look to be up 30% this year. The window company is having a record year and would like to expand the area they serve, but all their crews are busy and they can't find enough qualified crews to expand.

At work, we are having trouble finding enough tires to build all the cars we are selling. We have one car where we can't get replacement tires for the dealers when the customer wears out his tires because all the tires in that size are going into new car plants.

A guy that works out at my health club sells hydraulic switches and other industrial components. He says that he could sell 40% more than he is now, but the parts just aren't available.

On my recent road trip, I ran into a shortage of hotel rooms. In one Pennsylvania town, I called 1 day ahead and got the last available room in town. When I checked in, I asked why the town was so busy? Why was a little town in the middle of PA. full up on a rainy Tuesday night? The clerk replied that they were full every night all summer and through the fall.

Finally, a coworker and his wife are trying to buy a house here in Michigan. They've put in three offers in the last month, all were above asking price bidding wars, and they've lost all three houses because all they can offer is 20% down and a mortgage pre-approval.

It makes me wonder why, for the most part, the news is all so bad. Maybe, like the rest of us, the new media just got used to reporting bad news and isn't looking for good news. I hope my little list is the sign of good things to come.


  1. I tend to treat news on the economy the same as I treat the weather forecast - interesting, but if I really want to know what the weather is I'll look out the window. I think the media is always going to focus on the negative because positive news "doesn't sell papers", so the best way to figureout what's going on is the equivalent of looking out the window. All of which is to say it's good news for the guy on the street, long overdue, and hopefully will continue.

  2. Bad news is more interesting that good news, Jac. People would rather watch louts fight on American Chopper than see a re-make of "Father Knows Best." Hitler is more marketable than Eisenhower. Watch History Channel or Military Channel for a week and see which guy gets the most air play.

    Always remember that the whole purpose of news is to sell advertising just like any other TV show. They will present the news that will attract the most audience so that they can sell the most advertising at the highest rates.

    I'm convinced that Government, Inc. can't fix the economy, the economy will get better when people get fed up with their situation and make things better for themselves. That's how America came to be. As enough people start striving to help themselves the economy will improve (as long as the government doesn't try to hard to keep fixing it).