Recent national jobs reports paint an encouraging picture for the American economy, writ large. Per The New York Times
, unemployment hovers around 5%, close to what most economists consider “full employment.” Meanwhile, the economy is consistently creating more than 200,000 jobs per quarter.
But good macroeconomic news doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory closer to home. The Central Valley in general, and San Joaquin County in particular, have lagged California’s major metro regions — and most of the United States, in fact — on key economic metrics. Things are improving here, but not as quickly as most would like.
Worse, a number of potential events, trends or forces could derail whatever progress we’ve made thus far. Here’s a look at three of the biggest worries for San Joaquin County businesses — and what can be done to address them.
1. Plan for the Unexpected
Recent terrorist attacks against soft targets — various civilian venues in Paris, transportation infrastructure in Brussels, and of course a regional government center in San Bernardino, California — raise worries that similar attacks are possible anywhere, even in San Joaquin County. All it takes is a few determined bad guys to make a big economic impact.
Though small businesses can’t singlehandedly protect themselves against global terrorism, commonsense security measures and close coordination with local police authorities can certainly reduce exposure. And, if the unthinkable does happen, it’s critical to have a plan drawn up in close consultation with workplace safety experts.
2. Identity Theft & Fraud
According to the Insurance Information Institute
, identity theft caused more than $16 billion in direct losses in 2014, affecting more than 12 million Americans. Investing in identity theft protection
is the single most effective way to thwart would-be fraudsters and info-thieves. Following data security and hygiene best practices is important (and easy) too.
3. Prepare for Inclement Weather
Weather-wise, the winter of 2016 was a measured success: a stronger-than-expected El Nino brought heavy snow to the Sierra, building up a roughly average snowpack
that should undo some of the damage wrought by consecutive drought years. But most climatologists expected more snow to fall: unanticipated pattern shifts drove the lion’s share of the El Nino moisture to our north, drenching far northern California and the Pacific Northwest. This year’s snow harvest won’t be sufficient to undo most of the draconian water restrictions, which primarily affect non-agricultural businesses and junior water rights holders, that state authorities implemented last year.
Looking ahead, the weather is likely to be a huge question mark for San Joaquin County farmers in 2016 and beyond. It’s unclear whether this year’s tepid El Nino snowfall was a fluke that won’t be repeated in future El Nino years — or an ominous indication that a changing climate is pushing northward the moisture pipeline on which California farmers (and the businesses that support them) have long relied.
Businesses need to plan for a range of climate, including a worst-case situation in which the region’s water system remains under severe strain for the foreseeable future.
What are you doing to protect your company’s bottom line this year?
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