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Sunday, May 04, 2008

How severe is the recession?

The Grapes of Wrath is a classic novel published in 1939 and written by John Steinbeck,which emphasizes the need for cooperative, as opposed to individualistic, solutions to social problems brought about by the mechanization of agriculture and the Dust Bowl drought Many people have also seen the 1940 Hollywood movie adaptation starring Henry Fonda.

Friday afternoon, Derek Peterson from Constructionwork.com called me to explore some ideas. He traded news about the recession's severity in parts of the South. I felt the pain as he described examples of businesses failing -- and business owners about to lose everything -- just a year after they had been booming and so busy they had to ration and manage their work.

I am at a loss to offer answers to people caught in situations which evoke images in my mind of the Grapes of Wrath.

My earlier article on recession survival seems too simplistic and really inadequate when the business volume in some areas has declined by what appears to be 90 per cent or more. How do you plan for this kind of eventuality? I think that anyone waving the magic wand of a quick solution is either a miracle worker or, more likely, a con-artist.

I am confident that services such as Derek's are worth every cent of their cost, even in these circumstances. If you can obtain unlimited project leads for $39 a month (without any long term commitment), you should be able to find something of value in the leads service -- either directly through the leads, or indirectly through the contact information within the leads reports. If nothing else, for the flat fee, you'll be able to look at the markets nation-wide and possibly hit the road for better opportunities. But the depression-era images evoked from my conversation with Derek scar my mind. I pray that things will improve soon.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Recession? Maybe in some locations, maybe in some sectors. But, not at the national level and not across the entire economy:

The Recession of 2008 That Wasn’t?

Unknown said...

Point taken . . . certainly things are severe in the new home/residential construction markets especially in the South -- of course these areas are at the epicentre of the subprime mortgage crisis. Perhaps if you are in these communities/industries, you sense the world is falling apart, but jsut a little ways away, things aren't nearly so bad.

Anonymous said...

Mark,

In my neck of the woods (Routt County, CO), the biggest problem is a booming economy and a tight labor market with unemployment running at 2.7%:
Colorado unemployment data

Most would love to have that problem. But around here, folks will whine about most anything.

We have more home/residential construction going on around here than you can shake a stick at (so much so that there is serious political pressure to slow it down).

Some think it won’t last in our little corner of the world. I disagree. From my perspective, the biggest question is whether our local politics will allow it to continue. For decades, political pressures have slowed our growth and driven the price of housing through the roof.

Unknown said...

This is intersting, and shows how construction and real estate market conditions can be truly localized!

I will be heading to your corner of the world (at least reasonably near it) in August, when we attend the SMPS convention in Denver, followed by a few days I think somewhere near Steamboat Springs.