The trend is your friend! This is conventional stock market advice to not go against the trend of the stock market ticker tape (stock movements). If markets are up and rising, as in today’s environment, go with the flow.
Business administration and perhaps all society has been adhering to this same course of action for the last several years, oscillating between restriction relaxation, euphoria and mobility lockdown.
Compliance has been rewarded with personal health – when all else is stripped away this is society’s greatest asset and when your health is denied it is an invaluable resource.
The current business test of endurance is particularly demeaning in the busiest retail period of the year.
According to Statista pre pandemic holiday sales represented 26.7 per cent of all jewelry sales, 23.8 per cent of department store sales, and 22.4 per cent of clothing sales. An irreplicable thrust of annual economic energy.
A permanent impact of these changes is the push to online retail, an area where our market is just not mature.
Retailers scratch to turn a local profit while their biggest competitor Amazon trades at 69 times its earnings.
Restaurateurs manage perishable inventories with seating capacities compressed in the busy social season.
Governments collectively have arguably invested as much as they can in economy maintenance, with little left for a delayed recovery.
In the U.S., President Joe Biden had his latest economic investment blocked by his own democratic party.
In Canada, the federal government has offered targeted supports to sectors like tourism where income drops 50 per cent.
Ontario and other jurisdictions are also offering supports for the hardest hit businesses.
Not all sectors have suffered in the economy, but buoyant ones have suffered shortages of labour, supply constraints and increasing input costs.
Endurance is key. The challenge for business is the finish line keeps moving.
It’s hard to set your pace with so many uncontrolled variables as a 10k run turns into an ultra-marathon no one was conditioned for.
The current variant of imposition, Omicron, seems highly transmissible and with that transmission rate there is promise it could burn through the population faster.
Observing other affected economies, we could be in a managed state by February’s end. But the affects will linger.
The next challenge the economy will face is fatigue. Beyond economic, core contributors to our sectors of healthcare, education and even administration are “burning out”.
The up-and-down momentum of frontline citizens maintaining services will be the post economic shoe-drop.
This is not an article of gloom. It’s an article of recognition, and a realization that we have endured challenge.
Just as the stock market can’t be moved by the individual, we can’t push the COVID wave up a hill. We must ride the wake of water and navigate a path.
One untested measure government can assist with is providing a focal point.
We have enough knowledge on the movement of this crisis now to plot a point of light on the horizon, a beacon to focus upon.
We know incidents of infection recede when we are not indoors. We know the timetable for full population immunization – specifically when all children will be eligible for vaccination.
We know that a large herd of the population will chose vaccination as we move to managing an endemic.
I would appeal for provincial leaders to set a flag in the sand. Let’s look forward to a celebration in the spring.
Let’s put this period of challenge behind us and let’s move forward with mobility and life.
We can expect a strong rebound in pent-up energy for our tourism sector, but we need our economy to be refreshed to embrace this.
We need to recover from the damage still being inflicted on agricultural entrepreneurs and we need to be willing to replant and refocus in the months ahead.
It’s a difficult time, but we need to turn the page to 2022 with focus, determination, and enthusiasm.
Blake Doyle is The Guardian’s business columnist.