A stunned audience at today's opening session of Americas Lodging Investment Summit heard a hard-to-believe prediction from economist Todd Buchholz: the economy will begin to turnaround “in time for the back-to-school sales.” Hardly any forecast I've heard or read in the past few months have been anywhere as optimistic as what Buchholz presented.
Buchholz, who is a former White House economic advisor and a prolific writer, argues that the current recession won't be either as severe or as long-lasting as the downturn of the early 1980s, when unemployment bottomed-out at nearly 11 percent. He gave three reasons: the current job market isn't as dire as it was in 1982; real consumer earnings are actually increasing; and commodity prices are collapsing. And as a final chunk of manna for a starving audience Buchholz offered the thought that “dangerous, tumultuous times breed opportunities for prosperity and innovation.”
Following his presentation, one could feel a palpable lightening of mood among the 2,000-or-so attendees. Perhaps it's true that the power of positive thinking is, well, a powerful thing. While I don't necessarily share Buchholz's optimistic timetable, I, too, feel better about things after listening to him.