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Survey: Most See Little Economic Improvement Ahead

Ian P. Murphy |

CHICAGO — More than half (53.7%) of drycleaners expect U.S. economic conditions to “Stay about the same” in the next six months, according to the most recent Wire survey. Only 11.0% say they expect to see improvement in the next six months, while about one-third (35.4%) think the U.S. economy will get worse.
Asked, “How optimistic are you about the growth of your business over the next six months?” almost two-thirds (63.4%) are pessimistic about their business’ prospects in the same period, with 45.1% saying they are “Somewhat pessimistic” and 18.3% “Very pessimistic.”
“This is the worst I have ever seen the business, between the general economy and the news media constantly denigrating the use of perc,” one operator says. “I see nothing in the near future to turn things around.”
More than one-third (36.6%) of respondents are optimistic about the near future, however, with 31.7% “Somewhat optimistic” and 4.9% “Very optimistic.”
“I believe that we will see improvement going into the end of the year,” one operator says. “The growth will be slow and steady, which may not fare well for everyone.”
Many respondents pointed to the lingering effects of the “Great Recession” such as high unemployment and decreased consumer spending. “Unless the job situation improves, nothing will get better,” one operator says. “When people don’t have money coming in, no money will be spent.”
“Not much will change until the housing market is corrected and unemployment is below 8%,” agrees another operator. “There has been a seismic shift in spending habits by the American consumer at the expense of our industry. It will be a minimum of three years before the survivors see real growth other than from the death of some competitors.”
Offering a two-to-three year timeline before the overall economy shows any change in direction, another operator is concentrating his efforts on “gaining market share of what little business there is in our market.”
“Prospects for growth, as always, remain in your hands,” says another. “This economy is no different than any other economy—good, bad or indifferent. If you want to grow your business, you have ample opportunity. If you want to stand on the sidelines and complain, you can do that, too.”
 

About the author

Ian P. Murphy

American Drycleaner

Ian P. Murphy is a freelance writer based in Chicago, and was the editor of American Drycleaner from 1999 to 2011.

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