Notes from the Desk: Getting Back to Business
A lot has taken shape in our society since we last met. On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States, killing thousands of innocent civilians.
The attack, witnessed by the entire nation and the world on live television, prompted a retaliation as the United States began a war on terrorism some four weeks later against the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan and the al-Qaida terrorist network of Sept. 11 terrorist attack mastermind Osama bin Laden. The war continues.
However, another casualty of those heinous terrorist attacks was the America economy, already in the early stages of a recession. The attacks sent consumer confidence spiraling as unemployment rates escalated. The fed recently announced that the recession actually began months earlier; the attacks merely quickened the end result.
Good news, however, has been taking shape. As I write this, the U.S. Commerce Department has announced that personal spending has increased 2.9 percent in October, an all-time high. The increase was led by a record increase in purchases of autos and other durable goods, and follows a large decline of 1.7 percent in September, when the U.S. economy came to a virtual standstill. Americans, stunned following the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, stayed out of the shopping malls.
The Commerce Department also reported that construction-spending projects advanced 1.9 percent in October. That's substantial as it reverses five consecutive monthly declines.
Taken together, the increase in personal spending and the hike in construction project spending spells good news for our industry. We now have to tell ourselves that it ain't all doom and gloom. The economy will bounce back, and with it the all-important index of economic health, consumer confidence.
Where does this leave us? Right now, we're right where we've put ourselves: Wondering what next. In order to move out of this recessionary period, it's important that we work hard to continue business as usual. That means making purchases from industry manufacturers; purchase that new floor for a facility; buying the equipment and chemicals necessary for the maintenance of facilities.
It means that manufacturers need to take the bulls by the proverbial horns and advertise their goods and services. They need to generate business, encourage the purchase of their durable goods and continue with the business of keeping our industry - and the American economy - healthy, vibrant and growing.
In many ways, a recession is a self-fulfilling prophecy: We've found ourselves listening to the analysts, and taking the shrill call of those economic prognosticators' to heart to sell that stock.
Now is not the time to hunker down, letting the terrorists of Sept. 11 get their way by changing our way of life, and our way of doing business. It's time to get this economy back on line, and we can help assure that eventuality will take place sooner by doing business. That is the American Way.
President Bush is right: It's time to get back to business.