Thanksgiving a good time to count blessings

Grand Valley business owners and managers have a lot to be thankful for as Thanksgiving nears.

Let’s count some of the blessings:

A number of economic indicators reflect generally improving conditions. The  monthly unemployment rate in Mesa County dropped a full point to 4.5 percent in September, the latest month for which estimates are available. While the local labor pool has yet to refill to its depth before the recession, payrolls have increased and the ranks of the unemployed have decreased. Sales tax collections — a key measure of local sales — continue to increase with year-over-year gains in 12 out of the last 13 months. The City of Grand Junction reported a 4.8 percent gain in sales tax collections in its October report, while Mesa County reported a 6.4 percent jump.

Although there’s no local data available to quantify it, business observers believe consumer confidence has increased. More confident consumers tend to spend more, especially on items not considered essentials.

The outlook for the upcoming holiday shopping season is upbeat, perhaps the best since before the recession. That’s especially good news for businesses that depend on holiday sales for a substantial portion of their overall sales for the year.

Admittedly, Grand Valley business conditions certainly could be better, especially given the enviable growth that’s occurring in other areas of Colorado. But on the other hand, conditions could be worse. And that’s something to be grateful for as well.

Marcus Straub, a business coach and consultant who also writes for the Business Times, offers some excellent advice about gratitude and perspective in the column that appears on page 19 of this issue. Marcus believes business situations can be perceived as problems, challenges, opportunities and gifts. Most business owners and managers prefer to avoid problems and enjoy gifts. But in changing their perception, owners and managers can learn to see problems as merely situations to be effectively handled, challenges to be faced and opportunities to be embraced. Ultimately, every situation becomes a gift.

Thanksgiving constitutes a good time to give thanks that we’re in business, to count our blessings and express gratitude for the opportunities to turn problems into gifts.