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Recession Is a Media Event, Not an Economic One

February 17, 1991

In all of the recent months' publishing and proclaiming of the dark side of the business news, I have yet to see the media take a leadership role in reporting those businesses that are choosing not to participate in the current recession. As a sales trainer in Southern California, I call on all types of businesses. The vast majority of the firms that I work with have taken an aggressive approach to the marketplace, and have either replaced all of the lost volume or simply continued their normal business growth.

I have long suspected that recessions are a media event rather than an economic event. If the media is to take a leadership role, features and articles on how companies are prospering in these times would be more beneficial to the public than all of the gloom and doom. There are savings and loans that are doing fine. The Carter Hawley Hale story is another junk-bond deal gone bad. The tenor of the news articles make it appear that the department stores are doomed.

I work with companies that are introducing new products, expanding market share, generating sales and generally running "business as usual." There is no recession if you are selling enough, profitably.

Economists claim that 5% is normal unemployment in an average year. We are less than (2%) above that and act as though the economy will collapse at any moment. This economy can absorb an unusual 2% of unemployment until the fear and hesitation begins, and then we have self-fulfilling prophesy take hold, and we start the downward spiral. We lay off people in case things get worse--and sure enough, things get worse.

ROBERT E. AYRER

President, REA Associates

Huntington Beach

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