The National Small Business Association (NSBA) is well known for its pessimistic reporting, and recently released its outlook for the economic climate in 2013. The results followed the trends established in previous reports, with 51% of respondents claiming that they were anticipating a flat economy to emerge during the year ahead.
In contrast, just 14% predicted economic growth for the same period, while 35% confirmed that they were preparing for the onset of recession. The presence of economic uncertainty was cited as being the most significant challenge facing small business owners, with issues such as the eurozone crisis and diminishing growth in nations such as Spain providing the greatest cause for concern.
The Positive Economic Trends that You Should Look For in 2013
While it may seem as though the economic portents for the year ahead are bleak, there are also considerable reasons for optimism. The U.S. economy, which so often serves as a barometer for the global economic condition, currently embodies the uncertainty that is impacting on citizens throughout the world. So although the ISM Manufacturing Report recorded a figure of 50.7% for last December and offered insight into an expanding industry, for example, the national unemployment rate rose for the first time in three months at the beginning of February.
So with this in mind, what are the positive economic trends that we can all benefit from during 2013? Consider the following:
The Redistribution of Economic Power
While this is not necessarily a new trend, the global redistribution of social and economic power is set to gather pace during the year ahead. This will see control and influence slowly move away from once omnipotent institutions such as banks and central governments, with communities, individuals and private businesses assuming greater responsibility for driving economic, social and commercial development.
The rising popularity of peer to peer lending reflects this trend, with experts asserting that flexible, online lending now provides a viable alternative to traditional banking. While growth within the industry has been accelerated by disillusionment and the banking collapse that triggered the global recession, the efforts of private lenders and campaign groups such as Move Your Money have ensured that just 25% of borrowing is now conducted through banks.
Changing Nature of Business
Businesses are no longer solely concerned with profit, as their ethical standing, level of social responsibility and wider purpose are now extremely influential development factors. Corporations are increasingly keen to build a strong brand and legitimacy, as they compete to meet the changeable demands of employees and consumers. While such a philosophy may ultimately empower businesses to achieve greater financial success in 2013, it also exposes society to a wide range of additional benefits.
The quest for genuine legitimacy is set to expand still further in 2013, as the focus on general sustainability yields to concerns about individual health and wellbeing. As the application of smart technology continues to create solutions that assist citizens in living their everyday lives, there is an opportunity for consumers and businesses to benefit considerably. With a range of innovative gadgets already on the market and the highly anticipated Project Glass scheduled for public release in 2014, this trend will be hard to ignore as the year progresses.
Insourcing as the New Outsourcing
During the final financial quarter of 2012, General Motors announced that it would commit to insourcing approximately 90% of its heavily outsourced IT operation. While experts initially suggested that this decision was unlikely to trigger an automotive industry trend, the U.S. government has confirmed that insourcing is emerging as an extremely popular practice across the wider economy and employment market.
While it would be inaccurate to suggest that insourcing is set to become omni-present throughout the United States, there is clearly a growing emphasis on creating employment opportunities at home rather than abroad. This is likely to become more prominent throughout 2013, especially after President Barack Obama hosted the “Insourcing American Jobs Forum” and announced that his administration would create new legislation to encourage further domestic job creation. The President has also committed to eliminating tax breaks for companies that outsource work, and such a drive has the potential to lower national unemployment and also stimulate economic growth in the U.S.
The Bottom Line
The nature of the current economy means that it is unpredictable and perpetually vulnerable to recession and financial crisis. Despite this, however, there are positive economic trends emerging that have the potential to benefit consumers, small business owners and large corporations alike. These trends not only offer hope for 2013, but they may also have a significant bearing on the course of economic growth and development during the next five or six years.
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