If you were precasting in 1992, you might see some parallels between that time nearly 20 years ago and now. We were coming out of the 1990-1991 recession – a downturn precipitated by the savings and loan credit crisis and a spike in the price of oil due to the first Gulf War.
Are we there yet? It’s a question that anybody traveling with kids on a long-distance car ride has heard many times before. And it’s a question I’ve been hearing all year long from precast concrete manufacturers – only the topic is much more serious. They’re wondering about the economy, the end of the recession and the return to at least some normal level of activity.
The National Bureau of Economic Research on Sept. 20 declared that the Great Recession was officially over. In fact, they went so far as to tell us that the recession ended in June 2009. That may be the official word, but based on many conversations I’ve had recently with precasters across the United States, the effects of the two-year decline are still very much with us.
I’m reminded of that internal crisis when looking at the latest stream of economic data, which increasingly shows the economy going nowhere. Each piece of good news is followed by a snippet of bad news, which is followed by raft of conflicting speculation from economists. Where’s that lovely construction economy from 2006? Is it gone forever?
How often do we focus on the “kink in the hose” rather than stepping back and figuring out other solutions to our problems that are readily available? Sometimes the big picture is hard to see, especially when times are tough, but the perspective gained can be invaluable.
A government stimulus program is like a sugar high that eventually leaves you with an empty feeling. What we really need to move the economy in the right direction is meaningful, long-term infrastructure rebuilding.
By Ty Gable. If you’re looking for hope, here it is. If you have adjusted your overhead to this new market reality, made the tough decisions and retooled for a smaller, more efficient operation, then you’ve already done the heavy lifting.