8 Reasons to Feel Good About the Economy

Despite all the bad news we hear in the media, there are good things happening in our economy. You just have to look past the popular headlines.

Before I go any further, I’ll say this. I am NOT a financial or economic expert. Not even close. So, please don’t take what I’m saying as gospel. It’s not. It’s just my opinion and the opinions of a few others who happen to believe the economic sky is not falling.

That said however, I believe there are many bright spots in the economy today. And they’re getting brighter. They give us something else to focus on besides the doom and gloom everyone else is talking about.

Here are eight reasons I believe we should be optimistic about our economy right now.

Reason #1: The Baltic Dry Index is Rising Fast

I have recently learned about a little known economic index that is heading up fast. It’s the Baltic Dry Index and it measures demand for shipping raw materials across the globe. It hit bottom in December 2008 and has more than doubled since then. As a leading indicator, some professionals believe this is good news for the world economy. They believe it shows economic activity is already starting to increase.

Read more here and here.

Reason #2: Gold is high and stocks are low

Some investment pros believe gold has topped out and the stock market has hit bottom. These are important. As gold goes down it suggests investors are willing to invest in companies again rather than the perceived safety of gold. And the stock market needs to rise for people to start feeling good about their investments and it provides capital to fund investment in grwoing parts of the economy. A rising stock market always produces optimism.

Read more here.

Reason #3: Stimulus plans and alternative energy development will create more demand

Brendan Coffey, an analyst and editor of Cabot Green Investor discusses four reasons he believes the economy is getting better.  Reason one is that the US government is investing a lot in stimulating the economy. He believes this will help (and I agree). Two, he believes the stock market is in a base building phase which will be the basis of a rising market.

Plus, I like Coffey’s comments about George Soros and the new driver of our economy: alternative energy. This signals a massive change in the structure of our economy. This change will be healthy for everyone.

Read more here.

Reason #4: China’s economy is still growing

Many financial types are optimistic about China as a growing economy. Merrill Lynch sees much reason for optimism in their recent Survey of Fund Managers. China’s economy is still growing. To be sure it’s growth has slowed but it continues to consume more. And with increased optimism in China and about their economy, that should help boost other economies, especially Asia Pacific and North America.

Read more here.

Reason #5: Some manufactures and distributors are optimistic

Until now I had never heard of the PTDA (Power Transmission Distributors Association) but they seem to be more optimistic than other sectors of the economy. A recent survey showed manyof their members believe they will increase revenue in 2009. Less than 30% believe their sales will decline.  The good news here is that they are seeing this as a time of opportunity rather than scarcity. So they’re using their resources to grow their businesses in new ways rather than hunkering down.

Read more here.

Reason #6: New home builders are feeling better

New home sales are an important indicator of economic activity. For one thing they show people are optimistic about their future. And they indicate other economic activity associated with the process of buying and building homes. So, if builders are optimistic, this is good news.

Read more here.

Reason #7: Small business leaders are more hopeful

From November 2008 to January 2009, the percentage of small business leaders who believe things will get better this year rose 70%. They’re still cautious but the trend toward more optimism is definitely rising. This is important because small businesses employ 60 million Americans (depending on how you define ‘small business’). This is about 52% of our labor force. Any recovery depends on this group being hopeful about the economy and their situation.

Read more here.

Reason #8: More and more business people are seeing opportunities

This is a recent article about several business owners in New England who are finding ways to grow despite the economic bad news. They are seeing opportunities rather than obstacles. This attitude shift is critical to getting the economy moving again. Fear will only make things worse.

Read more here.

I’m neither an economist nor a financial guru. But I know enough about how our world works to know when most of us are focused on how bad things are, that’s when things are probably close to getting better. And I know that what you focus on tends to be what you see and what you get.

If, like me, you see good news about our economy, you’ll take note and you’ll act accordingly. If you see reasons to be optimistic, you’ll find ways to create opportunities for yourself and your organization.

That’s the best way to respond to times like these. And it’s the best way to position yourself and your organization to be stronger and healthier in the coming years.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz