It is hard to believe that 2014 will come to a close in less than three weeks. As we shift our focus to 2015, many indicators point to continued economic recovery and growth. Nationally, job creation is up, oil prices are down, optimism about the labor market in on the rise, and earnings are predicted to trend upward, as well.
On the local level, the Manatee Chamber has heard from our members that they believe the local economy is looking up. In fact, 83 percent of chamber members responding to a recent survey indicated that they predict moderate or strong growth. Almost 76 percent think Manatee County and our cities are headed in the right direction and 45 percent predict that they will increase their work force.
But, the new year will not be starting on a bright note for everyone. Let us be always mindful of those in our very own community who are struggling with the loss of loved ones, illness, financial challenges or limited resources. Now is a great time to make a financial donation to your favorite non-profit. The work these organizations do -- touching more families in Manatee County than you might imagine -- is critical to the long-term health and stability of our community. It's also a great time to commit to renewed volunteerism in 2015 as non-profits are in need of manpower, too.
As I personally contemplate the year ahead, my thoughts are filled with thanks. Our community is filled with so many conscientious, dedicated leaders and I get to work with many of them through the Manatee Chamber and our collaborative efforts. I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who gives of their time, talents and treasure to make Manatee County a great place to live, work, play and own a business.
The coming year is sure to bring a long list of successes as well as its share of challenges. I am confident that we can achieve great things together. With strong leadership, open minds, respectful dialogue, and a results-oriented approach, there is little we can not accomplish.
"Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
May you and your family enjoy a peaceful, happy holiday season and a bright new year!
Bob Bartz, president of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, can be reached at BobB@ManateeChamber.com or 941-748-3411.