By many measurements, our economy is turning itself around. Was this because of a master government plan, or just the guts and hard work of Americans like you and me? I think it was the latter, and here’s why.
The news is different these days.
General Motors has added a third shift in Detroit due in part to record profits in 2011 and brisk sales this year, both foreign and domestic. The Dow hit 13,000 (Feb 21, 2012) and unemployment claims have slowed to the lowest level in the last 4 years.
Manufacturing in America is on its way back, folks! But ask almost anyone on the street, and the answer isn’t some federal government policy (government officials are occupying their time arguing with each other), but rather the buying public making conscious decisions to buy local, to buy quality, and to buy American!
On the retail side, there are more new store fronts planned by the chain stores than in the past 3 years. For instance, Edible Arrangements opened 85 new stores last year and plans 185 more this year! Online spending hit $161 billion, up 13% from 2010. Many shopping malls are scrambling to install electric car charging stations, giving new meaning to “charge as you shop”. As a group retailers posted 11% gains in 2011 in ancillary categories such as cosmetics. The list goes on and on.
Closer to home, many of our family and friends who have been unemployed are either back to work, or have a renewed hope of getting back to a meaningful job. A lot of these people have even gone into business for themselves. Nashville Wraps, with its large and diverse retail customer base is a bellwether indicator for small and medium-sized businesses across America, and by that measure they are up by about 12% as a group.
So will $5+ gasoline dampen our newfound positive economic outlook? This is just one man’s opinion, but I don’t think so. Our recovery is based on more than cheap fuel, and it’s not that we don’t know it’s coming, either. Entrepreneurs and business operators just don’t want to go backwards, and while it will be tough and will no doubt squeeze us again, it isn’t going to whip our spirit or drive us to defeat. We have dealt with threats before and will do so again.
Robby Meadows, President
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Made in the USA: It Matters