Global Impact

March 17, 2011

I’ve been getting asked a lot this week about the combined economic impact of the horrific disaster in Japan and the political upheaval in Middle East. Beyond all of the human elements, these events have driven fear back into the economic recovery process.

A month ago at BLC, we laid out all of the best thinking from leading economists and forecasters and were able to predict fairly confidently that we would see an 8% overall North American growth figure in our industry. Isn’t it amazing how much can happen in just a few weeks?

The economic fear we spoke of at the BLC was based on weak consumer confidence, not enough new jobs, and cautious bankers. Earthquakes, overthrown governments, radiation leaks, supply chain disruptions … none of that entered our thoughts or could have been imagined. So, now do we need to step back and recast our opinions? I’ve seen reports ranging from this being a “necessary market correction” to it changing the fundamental way of life in transportation, public safety, construction, energy and travel.

My best advice at this time is to stay focused on what you can control in your company during working hours and do whatever you can do from a humanitarian perspective during non-working hours. It will do you and your employees no good whatsoever to become obsessed with watching the news during the day. Keep working – stay focused.

Please know that I don’t mean to gloss over the tragedies and suffering or minimize any of the hardships and loss of life for the purpose of this blog. We all want to extend our deepest sympathies to those who have friends or family that have perished or who are suffering in the troubled regions of the world. – CW

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