The U. S. Economy – let’s take a look. With consumer prices more or less flat and new housing starts not moving much (based on late-summer reports), jobs outlooks are uncertain. At the beginning of August, the unemployment rate was just under 5%. A quick glance says things across the nation are stable, possibly even stagnant.
Some financial analysts think the country’s employers are holding their breath, waiting to see what happens in the November election. But of course, “wait and see” is no way to run a business. When you need to hire to fill orders and serve customers, “wait and see” is a recipe for failure.
US Economy and the Coming Retail Season
The National Retail Federation recently upgraded its holiday forecast. Retail sales are expected to grow 3.4 percent over last year, with a 7 to 10% year-over-year increase. Retailers and manufacturers can’t “wait and see” what happens; they have a retail season to prepare for!
Cleveland Economy Partly Weather-Dependent
While evaluating US economic indicators is helpful in planning for Q4 2016 and anticipating demand in 2017, in Northeast Ohio, the weather always factors into business planning activities. It can affect retail traffic and sales, as well as the transportation industry and building services, among other sectors.
For example, just look at the snow removal businesses that were virtually unused last year. (No snow in Cleveland? Who would expect that?!) Similarly, landscaping and home remodeling projects are significantly impacted by unseasonable weather patterns.
Insulating Your Business from Uncertainty
Planning based on US and regional economic trends may be difficult, but it’s what we have to work with. Regardless of how the weather may affect us this year, we know for certain that Christmas is coming (and so are shoppers) and business must go on. Well-developed job descriptions and good training programs help employers be prepared for unpredictable circumstances – whether those circumstances are influenced by politics, economic factors, or Mother Nature.
Will the Indians bring NE Ohio another sports championship? All bets are off. But just like in baseball, winning in business means being prepared for the next pitch.
Having contingency plans in place for uncertain times is the only way to make sure you (and your business) can stay in the game. And when you need contingent workers to meet the surge in business, Flex-Team will be there to help.