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Editor's Note: Impact of Economic Woes on Facility Plans

Oct/Nov 08
As we go to press on this issue, it seems there's nothing but bad economic news to report. Economists are saying the nation is either clearly in a recession or - at the very least - on the brink of one. And, they predict this recession will last longer than the previous one of 2001. This is based on a survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) before the $700 billion financial bailout bill was approved by Congress.

According to Chris Varvares, president-elect of the NABE and president of Marcroeconomic Advisers, "Business economists have become more negative on the economic outlook for the next several quarters as a result of the tightness in the credit markets and weakness in consumer spending, expecting growth to stall in the fourth quarter." Therefore, in this issue of Area Development, we've tried to include information on what this economic crisis means for companies' facility plans.

For example, is the economic downturn a boom or bust for sustainable, i.e., "green," developments, ask the experts at Trammell Crow. In the face of job losses and increasing real estate vacancies, can Corporate America afford to go green? Yet, going green can add value to a project's bottom line through tax credits and other positive results, say those at the consulting firm of Crowe Horwath. In fact, the renewable energy tax credits were added to the recently passed financial bailout bill, which is intended to take the edge off of a recession.

Again, according to the NABE, the U.S. economy will start to recover in the second quarter of 2009 if the credit squeeze in global financial markets gradually improves. And another way to improve a company's bottom line is through expedited permitting - time is money. We explore this idea and others in this issue of Area Development.

Traditionally, our October/November magazine has featured our reports on the high-tech industries, included nanotech and electronics. Those reports are included in this book as well. Despite the economic downturn, it appears the consumer electronics sector has been doing well, and the worldwide market for nanotechnology-enabled products is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2015. Read more about these industries in our high-tech cover story and our industry reports.

Of course, we'll know more about how the country's financial woes are going to affect companies' site and facility plans once all of the responses to our 2008 Corporate and Consultants Surveys have been received and analyzed. The results of those surveys will appear in our December 2008/January 2009 issue and on Area Development Online. It will be interesting to note if this remarkable period in our nation's economic history will alter the traditional ranking of site selection factors and if - and when - relocation and expansion plans will pick up. Stay tuned for the results.

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