Financial Planning

‘The first encouraging news we’ve seen in a long time’

Thumb So when is the economy going to rebound, anyway?

Let's ask the experts:

Chris Ballinger, CFO of Toyota Financial Services: "We're seeing some good signs of recovery lately. The Dow is up, consumer confidence has improved, the Index of Leading Indicators rose in March for the first time in months. There's still some rough water ahead. Bank capital is very much an issue and lending is tight as a result. Lagging indicators still have yet to peak. Inflation is a possibility. But I think we'll see continued improvement for the rest of this year and into next."

Duncan Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext: "The stimulus tells me we'll get out of this faster than many people think. My belief is we've at least started back on the road to economic recovery."

Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial: "I think we'll see a potential recovery in first part of 2010. Of course, recovery is an elusive word; it means you're regaining ground lost. We're still in a hole."

Harvey Rosenblum, executive vice president and director of research, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas: "I believe we'll start seeing some growth again in the fourth quarter of (2009)."

Interesting, isn't it? The timeframes differ ... but not by much. Each is predicting a return to economic growth in late 2009 or early 2010.

More striking to me, though, is the sense of optimism. Each seems to see a silver lining in the economic clouds.

So, too, are the nation's financial executives. According an AICPA survey, optimism about the economy among CPAs and CFOs rose 14 percent while pessimism dropped 30 percent.

“This is the first encouraging news we’ve seen in a long time,” said Mark Lang, Ph.D., an accounting professor for the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. “There seems to be a broad consensus that the worst of the downturn is over for the U.S. economy."

One thing to keep in mind: Everyone agrees the recovery will be gradual and that there are additional obstacles to overcome. But there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.

And while I'm not ready to break out the champagne yet, it's still nice to hear some good news.

What do you think? Are we climbing our way out of the hole?


Bill Sheridan