So, here we are, far enough into 2010 that most of us remember to write the correct year on our checks and we use the past tense when referring to the debacle that was 2009. This is supposed to be the year of the recovery. Back 12 months ago, when economists predicted a tough year ahead, they forecast 2010 as the time when things would get better. So my question is, “Is it 2010 yet?”

I guess in my naïve muddling-along survival mode last year, I hoped that when we reached 2010, like January 1, everything would be “all-better.” But recovery evidently isn’t that easy, and I’ve had to adjust my thinking a bit. It’s going to be a little while longer before we get to a rosy picture again.

The good news is simply that there are many survivors, and the companies that have made it this far have done it not by luck, but by working hard and smart. 2009 did not give companies any room for error. So those that are still standing can give themselves a pat on the back for being around to start Round Two. This is the time for companies to keep persevering and follow the same business practices they were forced to adapt last year, so they can move beyond survival and start to grow — selling products, buying materials and equipment, and adding back jobs. There is cautious optimism already moving throughout the woodworking industry. But to my mind, it is when those three things start happening that 2010 will have really arrived.

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