You might miss it amid all the dark clouds, but the sun is still there.
In the ancient fable of Chicken Little, an acorn hits Ms. Little on the head, so naturally she thinks the sky is falling. Hurrying to tell the king, she informs others along the way and soon everyone believes it. Panic and hysteria.
Currently, our senses are saturated with news of just how dire the world economy is. You hear it everywhere from everybody. People recall the severe recession of the 19th century, and the far worse Great Depression of the 1930s. Oops, the
D-word. Panic and hysteria.
Fact is, we are in a deep economic trough. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD; Paris, France), which generally includes the developed countries of the world, on March 31 reported it expected 2009 economic activity in its members’ areas to fall 4.3% on average and unemployment to average in the double digits for the first time since the early 1990s.
The OECD expects international trade to fall by 13% and world economic activity to be down 2.7% for 2009. It thinks U.S. GDP will fall 4% in 2009 and stay at that level in 2010. Japan’s GDP will be off by 6.6%. The Euro zone’s GDP will be down about the same as the U.S. in 2009, and fall a bit more in 2010.
Economists and pundits, and even real people, like to compare this downturn to previous recessions in terms of causes, longevity, and severity. That’s interesting, but problematic. Never before have we had the convergence of economic factors that we have today. The global scope of the crisis, for example, is without precedent.
On the other hand, every recession in history had one key feature in common—it ended. This one will, too, with our assistance. The sooner we accept the mess as it is and focus on getting out of it, the sooner we will. No one should say or think it’ll be easy, but here are a couple of quick hints:
1. Stop talking down NPE2009. SPI CEO Bill Carteaux found it necessary to issue several statements saying the show was healthy, which it is. Should we expect it will be the biggest and best ever? First, go back to the OECD forecast above. Second, read Glenn Beall’s By Design column here. In his usual calm and thoughtful way, Glenn makes it clear why you should be at NPE2009. I agree.
2. Look for opportunities, even in dark places. Jeff Mengel is the partner who manages the plastics industry practice of the CPA and business advisory firm Plante & Moran. A diligent student of our processing sector, he says as many as 10-20% of North American plastics processors could falter by year-end. But he also says the resulting reorganization will include the transfer of more than 360,000 tools. So read "Transfer tool oppurtunities: Are you ready?" by Jeff Mengel.
And remember, attitude is a choice. Choose wisely.
Editor in Chief