Beyond the Build


Steady as You Go.

Last week, I attended a dinner hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. There was a good round of discussion during dinner with those in attendance, all sharing our individual thoughts and perspectives on current business and the economy. While none of this was necessarily deep analytical thinking, it was our “boots on the ground” perspectives.

A few more points:

  • There was a real concern for available labor in the various markets where we allwork. We need people to do the work and to be employed. The consensus was we need an immigration reform sooner than later.
  • Regardless of the international impacts to our U.S. economy, most thought we need another rate increase.
  • As for the standard, “there will be a recession every 7-8 years,” our host suggested that is not necessarily a guarantee. We may not see a recession in another year or two.
  • Compliance continues to be a big drain on efficiency and there’s no end in sight. Beyond the cost of time and labor, there is a lack of opportunity in other areas, while resources are working to comply. With every new labor law passed, these laws are not necessarily achieving the desired effect in the workplace, as business figures out workarounds to maintain profit.

Generally, everyone in the room said that business at present is “steady as you go.” We do not see any reason for substantial swings one way or the other in the foreseeable future.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.