Coping with Chaos

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
Standing in front of a room full of businesspeople, representing nearly every size and type of enterprise, David Hanson, CEO of Fulton Financial Advisors didn’t quote Aristotle, but he did heap high his own wisdom. For example, the very first slide in his presentation (which included example of dozens of useful charts and diagrams) made it very clear that what he was about to undertake was not a forecast. While most advisors and economists, such as Mr. Hanson, are well known for their forecasts, he wisely decided to take a different and higher road.
To the relief of the 75 or so people in the room, his ‘forecast,’ was entirely focused on getting a better understanding of what’s happening, why it’s happening, and what we might all do in response to these economic and socio ‘happenings.’ As Hanson pointed out, “Investors (read businesses) hate known unknowns.” Right now, we’re in a ‘dense fog of known unknowns,’ and making solid forecasts and predictions, to use Hanson’s words, “Is a fool’s game.”
We learned all of this, and only at Slide #3 into the presentation.
But rather than stop there, and head out to the waiting golf carts, the group stayed focused for the next hour or more on economics. Some of the resources that David Hanson tapped during his presentation, that are recommended to you for your own research and understanding include:
  • The Goldman Sachs Supply Chain Congestion Scale: Based on multiple factors, this rating meter guage, gives a data-driven ‘Fully open score of 1’ to a ‘Fully congested score of 10’ analysis of what’s happening with worldwide supply chains. As in golf, the lower the score the better.
  • The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) Unfilled Job Openings-this nationwide organization of small business owners, digs deeply into employment trends and paints a more-complete picture, using a series of charts, on what’s happening with businesses and organizations that would be typical of most Chamber members.
Summarizing his presentation, Mr. Hanson offered the following post-COVID/COVID-endemic points:
  • The world will never be the same—get ready for radical change.
  • Short term chaos will probably last at least a few more months.
  • Labor issues (shortages) are here to stay.
  • Technology is changing everything,
    • changing the way we use and need labor,
    • changing the relevance of geography and location.
  • Rethink everything—it is a very bad time to fall behind your competition. 
Thank you to Mr. David B. Hanson, for a data-based, information-packed, and much-needed Economic non-Forecast: Coping with Chaos. Also, thanks to Chamber member/leader, Leslie Temple for including the Chamber staff in Mr. Hanson’s presentation.
Tune into Financial Friday-On The Mark for more ‘non-forecasting’
We know that Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in July, according to the PA Department of Labor and Industry, down 4.5 percent from June. The national rate for July also declined to 3.5 percent. Our state’s labor force remains slightly below pre-pandemic levels, with 6.44 million Pennsylvanians in July 2022, as compared to 6.55 million in July 2019. In contrast, states such as Texas, Florida and North Carolina have more people in their workforces today than prior to the pandemic. Those are the ‘known knowns’ going into tomorrow’s (September 2nd) show.
Tomorrow morning at 8:30 am, you’ll have to listen in to 1070AM or to be in know about other knowns and unknowns. Every first Friday of the month, your Chamber Chairman of the Board, Art Thomas, and Chamber President/CEO Bob Garrett join Mark Lawrence and his co-host (usually Ben Reichley) for Financial Friday. This month, the show’s call-in guest will be Jason Fink, President/CEO of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
In his Chamber role, Mr. Fink served as the ‘Chief Greeter to the World’ when the Little League World Series came to Williamsport for two weeks or so in August. After batting around the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Economic Situation Report (the unemployment rate), the show’s format will shift to Jason with congratulations on a successful Series and then some discussion about what he learned in welcoming so many visitors as well as the possibility of recruiting people to our valley to fill the labor shortage gaps that are becoming so persistent.
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