Matter Chatter

Some End of Summer and Economic Thoughts

Sitting here in my home office on Friday, September 4th, thanks to our CEO, Scott Signore, giving us the day off and making this a long(er) Labor Day weekend, I can’t help but blog about the end of summer. 

My wife and children just left to go to the beach. I’ll join them shortly.

With them gone, though, I’m reminded of the second day of school when I was a high school teacher some years ago. You see, when you’re a teacher, the first day of school is filled with long, boring speeches from the superintendent, the assistant superintendent, the assistant to the assistant superintendent on down — it’s painful. The third day the students show up and it’s game time. But, on that second day, you’re alone in your room with only your thoughts of summer end and school begin. I feel that way now. Both reflective and upbeat.

So with the sun setting too soon, I’ll make this quick. The topic of the day, class: the local economy. Take notes, please.

Our office is in state that is 50 miles tall and 40 miles wide. It is a small state that has had big economic problems. With a 12.7 percent unemployment rate, Rhode Island’s recent numbers rank it second only behind Michigan in number of unemployed. You’ve heard the bad news, I’m sure. For a while we were drowning in it. It seems, at least to me, that for a long time there every HARO opportunity that popped into my inbox was in regards to this sad subject. I’m tired of hearing about it. You? So I’d like to share a small slice of some recent news you might have missed on the economy, argue that things are getting better and support my argument with what I’ve heard and seen locally, lately.

The good news, according to a recent Associated Press piece I read, is that unemployment may have hit bottom here. The national rate fell from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent. Rhode Island recently crept up three-tenths of a percentage point, but gained 900 jobs. Many of my clients have recently added staff, as have some of the new business prospects I’ve been working with.

We just recently added a new person here in Providence and awarded a well-deserved promotion yesterday, too.

I’m feeling better. Good even. I’ve had four new business meetings in the last week or so. I helped secure those meetings with two pitches, really. The first is that public relations is an economical way to get your messages to the masses, drive demand for your product/software/service, and create credibility that can ease access to capital. The second is that as organizations determine how to best navigate through the final months of 2009, many will start to re-invest in public relations pursuits. Those, on the other hand, that have steadily maintained a PR presence in these tough times, have likely gained a competitive advantage from doing so.

The message — if you’ve been practicing PR strategies and tactics all along, great! If you haven’t, start now!

The message seems to be sticking.

I believe that we have hit bottom. I’ve got a positive outlook. If others believe, practice positivity, invest, recognize a ROI, increase sales, hire and grow their businesses we’ll all be in a better place sooner rather than later. Together we can, right?!

So I offer my thanks to two locals that have been practicing positivity all along: BatchBlue Software and Providence Geeks. As well as others I’d like to learn more about including Providence Pecha Kucha, Business Innovation Factory and Betaspring. There are more.

And there is hope. Even though the summer is at end. Perhaps the recession is too?