Can We Really Trust the Forecasters?

By Jeffrey A. Burnstein, President, Robotic Industries Association


As I was making my plans for this past weekend, I nearly scuttled several activities because the weatherman was predicting a major snowstorm. But, I decided to go ahead with everything and am really glad I did, since we ended up with a very minor storm by Michigan winter standards. My wife and I would have missed out on a great time with friends on Saturday evening if we had heeded all of Friday’s warnings about terrible road conditions and huge snowfalls.


I sometimes feel that economists are like weather forecasters. Just because they make a negative prediction doesn’t mean it’s going to be accurate. Lately, most of the economic predictions I’ve seen have been quite disheartening. And, as one of the readers of this blog points out, the negative sentiments certainly don’t help speed our recovery.


So I was delighted today when our Director of Market Analysis, Paul Kellett, passed along a positive story indicating that the National Association of Business Economists predict that the U.S. economy will begin to recover in the second half of this year and begin expanding again in 2010.


Job losses should steadily diminish as 2009 goes on. Declining home sales should bottom out by mid-year. The U.S. should be the leader in coming out of the global recession.


Will this positive outlook be more accurate than the negative ones? Not necessarily. But, it does serve as a reminder that we could be closer to the end of this recession than to the beginning, which would be great news for all of us.


So, don’t scuttle all of your plans for investing and growing your business. Otherwise, you could miss out on very real opportunities that exist. It’s often a mistake to place all of your bets on predictions of bad news and snowstorms!



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