Russia vs. American Small Business

The world economy depends on global energy supplies. We were exposed to supply-chain snags during the Covid pandemic, but with the outbreak of war in Ukraine, sanction and export controls against Russia could make things even worse in terms of inflation.

Our reality check is that today a gallon of gas averages $4.10— a whopping 49% more than the $2.75 in March 2021. If your small business has a fleet of cars or trucks, inflation at the pump can tear into profits.

With commodity prices rising, the cost of services will also rise. Businesses often have no choice but to pass along their increased cost of products and services to their customers. A rising tide raises all boats!


So how can a small business protect itself?

According to the Bureau of Labor, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices paid by consumer for goods and services, had it largest 12-month increase since 1982. If you can, it may be wise to stock up on inventory, invest in property and update equipment before the CPI rises higher.

Now that the Federal Reserve Board has decided to increase the federal funds rate, those who anticipated higher rates and place their cash into interest-bearing CDs, money markets, bonds and savings accounts may benefit. The Fed today signaled multiple incremental increases during the coming year.

If you have access to capital, it may be a good time to purchase inventory and the core materials needed for your business. Examine your technology needs. You may be able to do more with fewer people using state-of-the-art automation that requires less human interaction. 

If eligible, look into a fixed-rate loan from the SBA (Small Business Administration) for working capital and to refinance any existing debt on your business.

Talk to your suppliers about long-term agreements and if you rent business space, consider negotiating a longer-term lease. 

Finally, talk to us as well as your financial advisor. Whatever the nature of your small business, the worldwide pandemic followed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are reasons to prepare. 

FOOTNOTE

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, people here in the Tri-State offer help to those who need to leave their homes. Read about the Matthew 25: Ministry program and consider a generous donation for drop off at their location at 11083 Kenwood Road, 45242.

Unemployment’s Roller Coaster Ride

Not since 1949 during the postwar recession have so many workers dropped out of the labor force as they have in 2020/21 during the Covid pandemic. It’s interesting to look at the numbers alongside other dramatic events in the economic life of the US economy.

The highest unemployment in our history was 25% at the height of the Great Depression (1933). As factories retooled and produced goods in 1941 to support the European war, only 10% of workers were idle. In the ensuing years of our participation in World War II, the massive numbers of American men and women working on the war effort reduced unemployment to between 1-2% for three years, and as low (1944) as 1.2%!

Although inching higher, unemployment numbers generally stayed out of the news until the ’70s when they quietly began to rise. In 1974, after OPEC demanded higher oil prices (the minimum wage was $2.00) unemployment jumped to 7.2%.

The ’80s saw the recession-inspired unemployment rate of 10.8% decline after President Ronald Reagan signed the Garn-St Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982 (a mouthful for the Act of Congress that deregulated savings and loan associations and allowed banks to offer adjustable-rate mortgage loans). This decade will be remembered for October 1987’s Black Monday when the Dow dropped 508 points, and millions lost their jobs.

During the ’90s with Desert Storm, welfare reform, and NAFTA the U.S. created 23,672,000 jobs, and hourly wages increased 10%. Unemployment rates sandwiched between a low of 4% and high of 7.4% and the economy grew — but so did interest rates. 

The year 2000 saw the NASDAQ reach record highs, but then the World Trade Center was attacked in 2001. The War on Terror raised unemployment and the 2008 minimum wage was raised to $6.55, and a year later to $7.25. The 2010 Republican tax cuts did little to curb unemployment until Trump won the Presidency in 2016 and the economy rebounded.

in 2019 COVID reared its ugly head worldwide. In the US, employers were forced to let workers go as government-enforced emergency rules dictated which businesses could remain open and which must close — rules were imposed at both Federal and State levels to reduce transmission of the worldwide pandemic. Even though the unemployment rate in 2021 hovers around 6%, 2020 will be remembered by most as “the year that wasn’t.”

We Americans are a resilient people. The Congressional Budget Office projects an economic expansion to return to pre-2020 levels and perhaps surpass expectations.
See the CBO Overlook 2021 to 2031.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is optimistic, and projects that housing will lead the way.

We are watching the unemployment numbers and other economic news, especially for Cincinnati and surrounds and are well prepared to serve those small businesses bravely leading the charge to prosperity. Call us at (513) 322-1036 or email info@dlmneymatters.com

What Coronavirus Can Teach Us

Everyone has had their own personal experiences with the COVID-19 virus that raged worldwide in 2020. This month, of the 330,000,000 United States population, approximately 460,000 or 1.2% of the population (as of this writing) have contracted the virus. About 2% of those have died from complications caused by the virus. 

While many were sick and too many died, no one was left untouched by its fury. What have we learned? What are the takeaways for the Coronavirus Pandemic generation? What will we tell our grandchildren? How has it changed our habits and thinking?

We’ve learned to respect data

We learned that data is a more effective communicator than personal opinions and emotions. It was the data that helped nations all over the world to make decisions, though perhaps in some cases we did not react quickly enough.

We learned that we really need one another

Science has always taught that we humans have a deep need to be around other people. A homeless man seen walking painfully down an empty street in NYC, when asked if he needed money for food or medicine, replied simply, “nope, just lonely.” We are social beings, we need one another.

We learned to love technology

From the TV news reports, to Chromebook computers handed out for homebound school kids, to FaceTime and Zoom, we stayed connected. Our devices held us together, allowed students to keep learning, educators teaching, broadcasters reporting, and families conferencing online. Live streaming and binge watching were never as popular. Technology united us.

We learned to wash our hands

We’ve always known that soap removes dirt, grime, and grease, but now we know it also destroys some bacteria, and especially viruses — as long as we wash vigorously for at least 20 seconds or as long as it takes to sing a whole verse of Happy Birthday. 

We learned that life will never be the same again

Not in our lifetime has a single worldwide event touched so many of us. Even World Wars were fought in far-off places by only a few, economic depressions recovered, dictators came and went, and even though we live in the nuclear age, we have yet to blow ourselves up.

When we grow old we will tell our grandchildren about a tiny virus no one could see, feel or touch; that brought business to its knees, shattered world economies, and shuttered the windows of socialization. Then we will tell them about our bravery, determination, and realization that we really need one another. We’ll talk about the heroes who found ways for us to survive and ultimately we’ll talk about the value of compassion, and likely…progress.