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By Hilary Baar

1970-something song lyric or our current economic condition?

I will Survive!

While it wasn’t Gloria Gaynor at the podium belting out her 1978 hit, “I Will Survive,” the message we heard at the DMAW Annual Meeting on 28 February was every bit as encouraging and stirring!

Mr Anirban Basu, a noted economist from the Baltimore area has spoken at two previous DMAW sessions and he never ceases to be both entertaining and informative on a subject that can be overwhelming and elusive.   Mr Basu is able to put the economy in terms that the non-economist can comprehend and even act upon – and yet he is able to generate a lot of laughs on a subject that isn’t always very funny!  In fact, as I mentioned during my introduction of Mr Basu that evening, I always leave his sessions feeling a tad more intelligent.

Mr Basu’s presentation of “I Will Survive,” conveyed the uplifting news that 2010 was a good year for the global economy – which is in stark contrast to 2009 when the global growth actually turned negative.  To date, 2011 World Output Growth is at 4.2% whereas 2010 ended at 4.8%.  This is considering that in 2004 and 2005 is when most mistakes were made.

Mr Basu presented a very detailed look at everything from comparisons of global stock exchanges, economic conditions of individual states (in recession, at risk, expanding, recovering), GDP, unemployment rates, mortgage rates, new homes sales, housing starts, national vehicle sales, and federal budget deficit … and much, much more.

Since we are marketers and economic conditions within each state affect our ROI, I’ll share some of the tidbits of the slides Mr Basu presented on this topic.  In fact, if you would like to hear Mr. Basu’s entire presentation, the DMAW is making available a video recording of his talk – it’s only $35 to members; $50 to non-members – and is well worth the investment.

A look at the U.S. map dated May 2009, shows the entire map red indicating that all 50 states were in recession.  The map updated through April 2010 had only one state in recession (Nevada) and about 20 states “moderating” with the balance “recovering”.  A more current map (November 2010) shows two states actually “expanding” (Alaska and North Dakota  — due to commodities).  Nevada is still in recession but joining that state in the same condition is Michigan, Illinois, and Mississippi.  Ten states are “moderating” and the balance is “recovering” (including Maryland and Virginia).

Mr Basu left us with some final thoughts …

  • Stimulus, stimulus, stimulus
  • We’ve seen the worst of It from a broader economic perspective
  • It is too soon to tell if broad inflation will be problematic domestically
  • Election results will be good for the economy because gridlock is desirable (at least to a certain extent)
  • Global economy is on the mend … for now
  • And, commodity price surges remain a threat

I’m excited for the timing because Carol Rhine, Senior Fundraising Analyst for Target Analytics will be discussing Fundraising Trends at the March DMAW luncheon.  Based with the great background Mr. Basu imparted, it will be interesting to look at the fundraising trends and putting pieces of a similar puzzle together.

In the meantime, I think I’ll go listen to Gloria Gaynor belt out her song!

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Hilary Baar is an Account Director at Nexus Direct and member of  the Direct Marketing Association of Washington