Most people, particularly small business owners, are easing into 2012 with an understandable sense of trepidation. With many businesses still reeling from the financial crisis of the late-2000’s and its subsequent effects, it may be hard to recognize the progress that has been made on the long, slow road to economic recovery – but, it’s important to remind ourselves that progress has been made. As I write this, a continued drop in people seeking unemployment benefits has brought new jobless claims to their lowest level since June 2008. At the same time (December 2011), service industries in the U.S. grew at the fastest pace in three months and the private sector added 325,000 jobs; forecasters had expected to see a gain of 175,000. These figures all point toward a stabilization of the labor market. So, what, economically speaking, should Americans expect this year? While it’s only the first week of the new year, early reports from investment firm BlackRock predict economic growth of 2 to 2.5 percent, “positive, but mediocre” job gains and oil prices below $65 a barrel. Likewise,the 35 economists polled for the latest Livingston survey “see the growth rate of economic output slowing to 2.1 percent (annual rate) in the first half of 2012, and they predict that it will then increase to 2.5 percent (annual rate) in the second half of the year.” While no one’s denying that economic recovery will be a long process, signs are pointing to better times ahead, and small business owners should be hopeful about the year ahead.

Tree Services E-dition

We’ve been busy planning some exciting new projects for 2012, the first of which we are kicking off this month. We are excited to introduce the Tree Services E-dition, a monthly e-newsletter covering all of the latest happenings in the tree care industry. To make sure you receive our E-dition, go to or scan the QR code above and subscribe with your email address. The e-newsletter will be sent on the fourth Thursday of every month, so check your inbox on January 26 for our inaugural E-dition!

Happy New Year, and best wishes for a successful season!

Katie Meyers