Turn off your television, and look out the window.
When it comes to television and print media, pessimism rules the day. Natural disasters, political scandals, and gloomy economic forecasts make for good media play. Rubbernecking is the ultimate spectator sport, as we flock to the source of the sordid, sad, and ugly. Technology allows us to get our fill on a 24/7 basis as we surf, scan and tweet our way through each bad news cycle.
The news at our fingertips is rarely “new.” Instead, we are hearing the same old story over and over again until we find ourselves repeating the same lines to our neighbors on the corner as we walk the dog or check the mail. The gloom and doom of the last few years has seeped into our bones and become part of the air we breathe. We frown. We scowl. We worry.
And we forget our own powers of observation.
As I look around Jackson, I see signs of an improving economy all around. Around the corner from my neighborhood, I hear the sounds of construction as new houses are going up. I see the same thing at my office. When we head to a restaurant to grab dinner, we find restaurants crowded. Waiting lines are appearing again, and not just on weekend nights. Parking lots at shopping centers are crowded. While customers are still cautious, they’re buying again.
And the national economic data tell the same story. We added 200,000 jobs in December. Home Depot announced plans to hire 70,000 in the spring. Our Christmas retail season was much better than expected. Manufacturing is improving. Housing is even showing signs of life, with new construction and permits increasing on a month over month basis.
If you turn off the television and look out the window, you’ll have reason to smile. The air that we breathe is no longer full of gloom and doom. There are glimmers of hope around each corner, if we’ll only lift our heads and look.
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, Ph.D., CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Ridgeland — (601) 991-3158. She is also an assistant professor of finance at Mississippi College. Her e-mail address is email@example.com, and her website is www.newper.com.