Maybe I’m a Pollyanna, but news mostly good

Phil Castle

I admit I tend to view the proverbial glass as half full rather than half empty. Presented with a pile of horse manure, I’m the guy looking for the pony. I guess I’d rather just count my blessings — cognizant circumstances could be worse and grateful they’re not.

It’s an approach that applies to outlooks of all sorts, in particular economic ones. It’s convenient because indicators rarely all point in the same direction at the same time. 

Consequently, I can’t disagree with the assessment offered at the Western Colorado Economic Summit the news for Mesa County is generally more good than bad. For that matter, the website you’re visiting at this very moment reports news good and bad. I hope, of course, you’ll read all about it. But for the sake of brevity, here are some highlights:

A combination of higher prices and large commercial transactions have pushed the dollar volume of real estate sales to record heights.

Tax collections, a measure of sales activity, continue to increase in Mesa County. Through the first three quarters of 2021, county sales and use tax collections were up 21.5 percent over the same span in 2020. Keep in mind year-to-date collections have increased in each of the last five years.

Still, Colorado business leaders are less upbeat heading into the end of the year according to the latest results of a quarterly survey. The Leeds Business Confidence Index dropped 11.2 points for the fourth quarter, but at 56.1 still reflected more positive than negative responses.

The Small Business Optimism Index based on monthly surveys of members of the National Federation of Independent Business retreated a point to 99.1 in September.

In addition to real estate sales, tax collections and survey results, still other indicators constitute encouraging news. Chief among the opening of new businesses and the expansion of operations.

I’m not so hopelessly naive to believe everything’s hunky-dory or we’re all going to sing “Kumbaya” as we skip hand-in-hand to the bank to make another hefty deposit. 

On the contrary, the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions pose challenges not seen in decades, if ever. I’m even more horrified by the divisiveness that seems to have spread like a contagion through this country.
It’s almost become fashionable, as if spite were the new black.

I remain optmistic, though, based most of all on the capacity of the human spirit to do well and to do good. If I’ve learned anything over more than 20 years as editor of a business journal, it’s that entrepreneurs are an especially adaptive and resilient lot. Over the long run, they’re going to succeed.

There are lots of reasons to view the glass has half empty or perhaps even less. I choose to view the glass as half full.

Phil Castle is editor of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or