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Are We There Yet?

Posted on September 15, 2014 - Ewen Dobbie

I think it's safe to say that several years ago we were pretty happy and were all making money. Our industry was in the midst of arguably one of steel's greatest bull markets in decades. Here we are years later and most experts are saying that the market had fallen even further than predicted. It is difficult to hide from news that informs us of layoffs, cutbacks and economic stress.

Despite this, I believe we needn't follow the prevailing grim attitude. It is an established truth that the economy fluctuates. And these fluctuations move in cycles, or periods of rapid economic growth and periods of decline.

Some even believe the recession is a necessary evil that is designed to "clean the 'fat' out of the system, mop up excess, and pave the way for the next expansion."

As painful as it is, a recession is a natural part of the economic cycle and things do turn around. Of course, this knowledge doesn’t ease the real-life difficulties facing us at the time. However, economic recessions are normal, and necessary. Looking back through history you can see that we've been though seven recessions since 1967. Granted, the experts say this last one was arguably the worst in history. Regardless, they are part of the ebb and flow of the North American and world economies.

It is important that we remind ourselves there is light at the end of the tunnel. According to the Bank of Canada, and after only 9 months, they claim the recession was finally over. But was it really? We were not so sure. Some economic indicators suggest that we hit bottom in 2011, and have been in a slight recovery mode since. Others believe it is also possible that things get a little worse, before they get better.

As we all have come to know, the construction industry (particularly steel detailing and fabrication) lag somewhat behind such early positive indicators of an economic upturn. The optimist organizes, mobilizes and strategizes efforts for what will likely be a surge of activity in the near future. The pessimists, well, they have to organize, mobilize and strategize their efforts to survive. Either way, working 'on' your business (and not 'in' your business) is the best course of action.

Dowco, like most in our industry, are not immune to the effects of economic slowdown. I can say that we have been prepared for this eventuality, and feel confident we will emerge as we have always done, stronger, diversified in our service offerings and ultimately a more nimble company.

At the very least, we can all draw some comfort in knowing that we are nearing ... If not damn near the end of one the worst recessions in our lifetime.

Dowco Group - Ewen Dobbie

President, CEO of Dowco Group of Companies