Growing out of recession

John McDonagh

I think most local business owners would agree, as a business community we’re definitely off the bottom of the pothole. However, there is little agreement as to how far up the side of the hole we really are. On the later point, there seem to be great differences by industry.

Said a bit differently, the National Bureau of Economic Research has defined the recession/recovery cycle as “a period of falling economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.” (Forbes, September 2010) The recovery then begins when there’s a general uptick in business activity.

For most local businesses, the recovery certainly didn’t begin in 2009. Rather, it was well into 2010 or early 2011 before the effects of recovery were noticeable. But now, nearly three years after the recovery was declared to be underway, we are hearing from many local companies that business is actually showing an uptick. This seems to be in keeping with what Alan Beaulieu, of ITR Economics, said in his March 2 presentation at the Hilton Vancouver Conference Center. His contention was that for many, 2011 was a better year than 2010. And if 2011 was good, you’ll like 2012 and you’ll like 2013 even more.

As testament to the fact that Southwest Washington is participating in that recovery, more than two dozen companies who experienced strong growth or commercially successful innovation during 2011 have entered the Southwest Washington Business Growth Awards. And that doesn’t count the companies who initially said they were planning to enter but then were unable to complete the registration by the deadline.

After the panel of evaluators from SCORE reviews the entrants’ information early next week, we will announce the finalists for this year’s recognition. Then on Thursday, April 26 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., we’ll gather as a business community to celebrate the growth and success of these businesses. The businesses entered this year range from local eateries and retailers, to professional services and recreation venues.

The Business Growth Awards will be held this year at the Pearson Air Museum. A showcase of the finalists will accompany the reception from 5:00 p.m. until about 6:15 p.m., with the awards presentation immediately following.

To learn how the recovery is happening for a number of our business neighbors, join us for the Business Growth Awards. Each of the finalists will have a unique story to tell and one of them could be the key for your business.

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