Time for a 2nd Half Economic Pacific Northwest Comeback

Jun 30, 2020

Twenty-one times Russell Wilson has entered the 4th quarter as the quarterback of the Seahawks with his team behind and left the field victorious.  The victories were not achieved by Russell Wilson alone, players on offense, defense, and special teams combined with quality coaching decisions all contributed to these favorable outcomes. The NFL season is less than three months away, if it starts as planned September 13 with a road game in Atlanta.  I have my fingers crossed that will be the case as a loyal member of the 12’s.  I anticipate Russell Wilson will add a few more exciting come from behind victories this year.

The Pacific Northwest economy started the year with strong momentum from 2019.  Businesses were seeing financial growth, expanding operations, adding employees, and increasing salaries.  Unfortunately, the first half of 2020 saw the arrival of the COVID-19 storm closing many businesses for multiple months and impacting customer engagement and operations for all moving forward.  The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting solidarity protests across our region further complicated economic activity in regional metropolitan areas from Seattle to Portland. The good news is that on Tuesday, June 30 a historically turbulent 2nd quarter will be over and the 3rd quarter of 2020 will start with a feeling of collective optimism for what is possible for the region and nation in the future.

Nationally, green shoots of economic growth have already started to be observed.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 2.5 million new jobs were added to the economy (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf) in May.  This job growth largely excluded the states of Washington & Oregon, which required a majority of their businesses to remain closed or operate in reduced capacities throughout May.  This is not the case for June, a month that saw the most populous counties in Washington and Oregon all reduce restrictions and allow small businesses to open and their employees to return to work by the middle of the month.  I eagerly await June’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report.  I like good news.  I strongly believe that getting the nation firing on all cylinders economically again like in 2019 is fundamental to a better quality of life for all. The following article illustrates how good employment was for all demographic groups in America before COVID-19. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/04/black-and-hispanic-unemployment-is-at-a-record-low.html

It is good to look back and reference history in creating a desired vision for tomorrow.  A strong second half comeback is possible for the Pacific Northwest and the United States in 2020, but it will take everyone coming together and working in unison.

The following are the four parties that need to contribute if we are going to walk off the field at the end of the year with a winning result:

  1. Business Owners – Business owners small and large need to have confidence and a willingness to act. If businesses invest in people & infrastructure, problem solve & innovate, and provide quality products & services with superior service customers and revenue will return.
  2. Employees – COVID-19 changed many practices & policies in the workplace. Employees need to be willing to adapt to the “new normal” and not operate from a foundation of fear if the economic engine is going to reach maximum RPM’s.
  3. Customers – America is a consumption driven economy. It is the greatest marketplace of products and services in the world.  Every company in the world wants to sell its wares in the United States.  Customer practices need to return to normal. This is only possible if optimism exists about the future.
  4. Government – Municipal, state, and federal governments need to support and not restrict the recovery. It is important for them to provide oversight, especially related to public health.  They also need to trust businesses and consumers to make “good choices” and decisions in their “best interest”.  The economic recovery is as important to government as it is to individual citizens.  The state of Washington collects a significant portion of its income to fund schools, parks, and social safety net programs from sales & excise taxes.  The more people spend in Washington the more the revenue received by city, county, and the state governments.  Oregon has a state income tax. The more people employed, the more revenue it collects to pay for publicly funded services.  It is also critical that school districts find a way to reopen in the autumn with close to a traditional education environment.  Working parents need children in school to facilitate steady, quality employment.  Children need supportive education.  Virtual learning negatively impacts the weakest and poorest students the most.

The Seahawks with the best home crowd in the NFL always come out of the locker room at halftime mentally & emotionally ready to fight until there is no time left on the clock.  It is my hope that from Governors Inslee & Brown to Boeing & Nike to employees in the hospitality industry adjusting to the “new normal” to consumers engaging in a COVID-19 world that everyone will strap on a helmet and run out of the tunnel to start the 2nd half of 2020 ready to contribute to a national & regional economic recovery.  We got this.  Let’s regain the economic prosperity that was lost due to COVID-19.

IBA, the Pacific Northwest’s premier business brokerage firm since 1975, is available as an information resource to the media, business brokerage, mergers & acquisitions, and real estate communities on subjects relevant to the purchase & sale of privately held companies and family owned businesses.  IBA is recognized as one of the best business brokerage firms in the nation based on its long track record of successfully negotiating “win-win” business sale transactions in environments of full disclosure employing “best practices”.