Recession talk: We're not out of the woods yet


The economy is starting to recover, but challenges linger.

We're finally starting to hear some good news about the economy. A few weeks ago, Newsweek magazine ran a cover story declaring, "The recession is over." A search for the word "recession" in Google News yields these top three headlines on Aug. 19: "Recovery begins, but recession leaves scars," "U.S. recession may have ended in June," and "Recession easing among wealthier nations." Investment portfolio managers and small business owners are feeling more optimistic about the economy than they have in months, according to recently published surveys.

And the good news isn't just being reported about the global economy, either. Our profession may be turning a corner as well. Veterinary analysts are indicating that practices that had experienced declining or stagnant growth have started to turn around—for an example, see "June numbers up" on

However, as one of the headlines above reflects, many economists and veterinary advisors point out that our recovery isn't going to be quick and easy. The unemployment rate continues to be high and may even continue to grow, and many are saying that until joblessness turns around, it won't feel like a recovery at all, especially for those who have been affected by layoffs.

So we can't breathe too easy yet. And even if we could, there's a danger in returning to business as usual and forgetting the lessons we've learned the hard way. For example, many of you have had to pay attention to your practice's financials in a way you never have before as you've looked for ways to trim costs, maintain revenue, and keep clients coming through your door. It would be a shame to grow lax in inventory control or compliance building and return to the status quo instead of using newfound strategies to experience even greater success as the economy creaks back into gear.

The articles in this issue give you a wealth of ideas on how to take advantage of opportunities presented by the current economic situation. Mark Opperman's article on page 26, "Sharpen up your team," explains how this may be the perfect time to improve the caliber of your employees. Denise Tumblin's article on page 22, "Thriving in the drought," offers suggestions on what Well-Managed Practices are doing to remain successful despite their financial challenges. And "Objects of desire" on page 14 presents firsthand accounts of how an equipment purchase can lead to profit rather than pitfalls.

So keep on trudging through the forest, but don't despair. A clear view may be right around the corner. And when you reach it, you'll be positioned to soar to heights you'd never have reached without the lessons learned during this challenging time.

Kristi Reimer,

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