Dear Scotwork Friends,
Happy 2024! I don’t know about you, but it seems I’ve heard more people saying good riddance to the year that’s passed than I did even during the height of the pandemic. Hopefully, that’s a sign of good things to come.
As we all look forward to better days, my outlook on 2024 is that of cautious optimism with a dose of 2023 reality. I do believe there’s a lot to look forward to, but we have to get through a few things before we start hitting our stride again.
First, the economy’s going to continue to baffle us for a little while. If you consider all the indicators, things are starting to look up. The second half of the year will look much better than the first half, and, barring any major events, the economy will finally make its soft landing. During that time, interest rates will come down a little, inflation will continue to fall, and GDP growth will start to increase. That should help give businesses a clearer picture of their investment thresholds and allow them to make decisions faster than they could last year.
Two looming issues could have an impact on many negotiations. The first is the world stage. A number of international conflicts could expand, which might lead to an increased impact at home. Until these conflicts deescalate, they’ll continue to polarize global politics.
The other issue is the presidential election. So far, it doesn’t look like it’ll be a “normal” election; legislatures and judicial bodies are getting involved, which will increase partisan rhetoric and further polarize Americans. Additionally, lack of clarity regarding who will actually be on the ballot could create uncertainty in our fundamental democratic processes.
Both issues may negate economic gains, as uncertainty causes people to move cautiously or, potentially, not at all. Unfortunately, that may have an impact on B2B negotiations and even personal ones, since uncertainty may make decision-making even more difficult.
Believe it or not, there are good things on the horizon. As I mentioned, the economy should start to feel better toward the latter part of the year. The Olympics will be held in Paris this summer. Assuming political issues don’t get in the way, the Games may mark the first step toward bringing the world a little closer together.
Add to that, after three years of dealing with the effects of COVID, we’re much more comfortable socializing, traveling, and being together. And I have a personal belief that the more connections we make, the more civilized and compassionate we become — and that’s always a good thing.
As much as I want to say goodbye to 2023, we’ll still have to deal with some of the year’s residual impacts. But as the days pass, those impacts will lessen, and brighter times will appear.
I wish all of you brighter days in 2024. Let’s work together to resolve our conflicts productively, compassionately, and in as civilized a way as possible. If that can be our collective negotiation resolution, then we’ll all be doing our part to make 2024 the best year possible.
From our entire team here at Scotwork, we wish you all the best in the year ahead.