I’m not one to judge people for their musical selections, but this guy plays some of the most beautiful music ever composed and he’s telling me he loves country. What gives?
His response was simple: He likes country music because the lyrics “express the human condition in the most honest and basic way.” After thinking that over for a second, I realized he was probably right.
Some of you may remember the country song, “I’ve Been Down So Long (It Looks Like Up To Me)” by Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra. That title speaks volumes about the data in the latest economic survey from the National Association of Manufacturers.
Responses indicate that manufacturer confidence in the second quarter was up more than 35% from ’08 and ’09 levels. This data was reported in the same newsletter that cited fears over the tax and regulatory environment, a decrease in consumer confidence, stalled consumer and housing spending, difficulty attracting and retaining a qualified workforce, slowing growth, and anxieties about the global economic outlook.
So, again, how is it that manufacturers are more optimistic? The only explanation is we’ve become so accustomed to bad news that any uptick, like a two-year transportation bill or modest growth, is cause for optimism – and that’s probably a good thing. A negative outlook won’t get anyone very far.
In the song, Nancy Sinatra sings “I put my finger in his mind’s eye, and I’ve given him a reason now to cry. I put his song of life in the wrong key,” and Lee Hazelwood responds, “I’ve been down so long it looks like up to me.”
The precast concrete industry is kind of like Lee Hazelwood here. We’ve been down for a long time, so virtually anything can look like “up.” The good thing is we haven’t given up and we haven’t lost sight of that glimmer of light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.
We must remain lean and efficient, diversify to meet new and unmet needs, take care of employees through training and teaching, understand costs, add value to our products and get close to customers. These principles are the keys to success and they can only happen if we continue to be optimistic.
I’m curious to know, if you had to rate your confidence level right now, what would it be? Very positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative or very negative? Comment below and let us know what looks like “up” to you.