Last week my teenage daughter and I visited the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. The Haunted Mansion? Really fun, but not very scary. Space Mountain? Pretty good, but compared to most roller coasters also not very scary. That dude in the creepy Donald Duck costume who kept hugging my daughter even after I finished taking the picture? OK, that was a little scary.
But not as scary as the economy. It's now going on five full years since we had a "good" economy. And, judging by a lot of the data, we've still got a long way to go. No matter what positive news we hear it's almost always offset by something unsettling. Small business owners know this. And we're scared. Which is why we're still not hiring and still not overly optimistic.
What are we so scared about? I can name 8 things right off the bat.
#1. Gross Domestic Product
Gross Domestic Product was recently revised upwards for the fourth quarter and everyone said that was good news. But can we all take a breather? That's like saying the wait for Stitch's Wild Ride is "only" 30 minutes. The attraction still sucks. For starters GDP was 3% at the end of 2011 and is projected to be about the same for 2012. Meanwhile China just revised their GDP downward to 7.5%. What a bunch of show-offs. A good growth rate would be about 5-6%. If my business were only growing at a 3% rate I wouldn't be so thrilled about it. Wait, five years since the recession and my business is still only growing at a 3% rate, which probably explains why I'm not so thrilled about the economy right now. Read more....