Signs of Life

By Hannah Wallace May 31, 2009

Like most of you, I’ve been on the lookout for encouraging signs in the economy, and in the last couple of weeks I’ve found that tight little band around my chest loosening a bit. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke now has predicted the recession would end this year, Wall Street has signaled more confidence in the markets, the federal stress test for banks found better results than anticipated, and locally, real estate is showing some signs of life with bidding wars (remember those?) and shrinking inventories.

Al Carlson, the CEO of Sun Hydraulics, the global manufacturer of hydraulic manifolds based in Manatee County, told his investors in May that manufacturing had reached the bottom of the cycle. “There are some positive signals out there, most notably the Purchasing Manager's Index, which has now reported four consecutive months of upward movement,” he said. “While the magnitude is small, upward is the right direction and this index has proven to be a reliable directional indicator of our business.”

We certainly aren’t out of the woods yet, but these small signs seem to signal that the worst may be over some time this year and that 2010 will be a year of recovery.

That’s good news for the three job seekers we profiled in this issue (page 30). They were brave enough to share their stories and frustrations, and we asked a career counselor to give each one advice on how to find that perfect job in this market. We can all learn from the tips they received.

We also offer advice from Sarasota newcomer and national retail marketing expert Robert Blattberg, who has worked with some of the largest retailers in the country (page 14). You don’t have to be a retailer to put some of his tips to use.

Also encouraging is the success three local production companies have been experiencing in our region. All three have figured out how to produce commercials from their studios here in Sarasota instead of in L.A. or New York (page 24), a bit of evidence that a small commercial film and production industry is taking roots here.

And finally, although the elected mayor issue failed last March, we gave some of our local leaders the chance to say what they would do if they held the gavel in the city of Sarasota (page 18). For common-sense ideas and details and can-do energy, my vote goes to the maverick entrepreneur Harvey Vengroff…as long as we could vote him out of office in four years.

Here’s to a better second half in 2009.

Filed under
Show Comments