If Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. recession "is very likely over at this point," does that make it so? Discouraging reports on unemployment (9.7 percent as of this writing) and manufacturing growth indicate that the road out of the worst economic downturn in decades is not going to be a smooth one.
Manufacturing grew for the second straight month in September, but at a slower pace than in August. And while economists are saying that the overall U.S. economy is growing again - at a rate of 3 percent or more in the just ended third quarter - they don't expect that momentum to last through year's end. David Wyss, chief economist for Standard and Poor's in New York, told AP writers that he expects U.S. economic growth to slip to an anemic 0.8 percent in the final three months of this year, and to perform only slightly better as we head into 2010. Tight credit for businesses and consumers alike is not helping the situation. (To read more on this topic, refer to this month's article "Back From the Brink.")
Yet some locations are weathering the economic storm better than others. This month's cover story - "Does Community Size Matter in Business Success?" - discusses how current economic conditions may be leveling the playing field between large and small cities. A city's population size - be it Tier I, II, or III - is not the overriding factor it might once have been in a company's achieving success at a particular location, according to Michelle Cammarata, VP of Workforce and Location Planning at CresaPartners. Businesses and government leaders will succeed based on their understanding of how their regions can support existing and emerging industries, Cammarata concludes.
One region that understands this directive is Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, where the animal health industry has clustered. A special investment report on the area known as America's Animal Health Corridor is included in this issue as well. Also included is a new department called "Front Line." Industries/locations enjoying success in these challenging economic times will be highlighted in this new department. This month we feature investment taking place in the advanced battery/electric-drive vehicle industry throughout the country; the digital entertainment industry in Louisiana; and the high-tech manufacturing industry in Georgia.
Without a doubt, the economy will eventually recover. The articles in this issue - from how to negotiate a better lease to getting brownfields off the books to LEED certifying your facility and more - will prove useful as you position your firm for sustainable growth.