There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic about the U.S. economy lately.
- The number of jobs created in September was a full 25 percent lower than what many economists were expecting.
- More than 13 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are unemployed, according to a national, non-partisan youth advocacy organization.
- Policy makers say they have little confidence in their ability to prevent another financial crisis, according to the New York Times.
But don’t pack your bags and move to Canada just yet. Our economic outlook might not be as gloomy as it seems.
That’s according to Jim Glassman, a CPA and a senior economist for Chase Commercial Bank. Glassman opened the AICPA’s 2015 Global Manufacturing Conference by offering a couple of eye-opening lessons on the supposedly struggling U.S. economy:
- Not all economic indicators are created equal. Popular metrics like unemployment and gross domestic product don’t tell the whole story. They’re guesswork. Glassman prefers data that actually measures something. Take jobless claims. “They’re the real deal,” Glassman said. “They tell us what’s going on. The beautiful thing about jobless claims is that with one look, I know what happened across American last week.” The point is this: Pay attention to the right numbers, not the popular ones.
- Manufacturers say it’s harder than ever to find employees with the right skills. That might sound like a bad thing, but Glassman isn’t sure. The fact that U.S. manufacturers are searching hard for employees with the right skills means that U.S. manufacturing is on the rise. The demand for skilled manufacturers is high. It’s time for the supply to follow suit.
- Perhaps the biggest lesson of all, Glassman said, is this: “The U.S. economy is very resilient. It takes an awful lot to derail us.”
“Manufacturing is the most interesting, innovative, dynamic industry we have,” Panchak said. “It constantly changes. It’s just getting started.”
The point being made over and over again at the conference was this: Manufacturing isn’t dead. Far from it. We just need to recognize the innovation that manufacturing brings to the table.
We can’t build new things if we don’t invent them first, Panchak said. We can’t create if we don’t innovate. Manufacturing is the byproduct of innovation. The two are inseparable.
If we want to turn the United States into a manufacturing giant again, we first have to turn it into an innovation giant. Innovation requires learning. Learning today means getting social. It means connecting with the people and resources that add value to our lives.
Is it possible that today’s U.S. economy depends on social business?
I don’t know if anyone else is making that argument, but I certainly am.
Social business helps us learn. Learning helps us innovate. Innovation leads to increased manufacturing. A boost in manufacturing strengthens the economy.
You can’t measure our economic strength with just one or two popular indicators. You have to look deeper than that.
And the deeper you look, the stronger our economy appears.