A Publication of WTVP

When will the bottom finally come and go? The nation’s been suffering an economic hangover that’s been dragging on like some rare strain of flu. Recently, a well-known bank economist stated that last October 9, 75 percent of all key financial indicators showed a positive turn in the market, and “We weren’t out of the woods, but the end was near.” When someone in the audience asked what the timeframe was, he shrugged and said, “For the whole nation—a year or two.”

What’s to be done? There’s no patented solution, but there are some pretty powerful local actions that can make a big difference.

When given a choice to buy locally—buy locally. The reason is simple. When you spend money in the region, the dollar stays in the region, and in turn gets spent on local wages, local supplies, etc. It’s estimated every dollar spent in the local economy creates more than $2.50 in economic benefit. Enough benefit to start a local recovery.

The five regional chambers of commerce put together the “It’s All Right Here” campaign to put the spotlight on local merchants and to encourage people to spend their money locally whenever they have the opportunity. It’s no coincidence the ad campaign is coming out just before the holiday gift giving season and the annual migration north to shop Chicago.

But are local consumers ready to spend at all? Consumer confidence is a key indicator. Local consumer confidence indicators show a surprising difference from the nation as a whole. A local, well-known economist identified in his research a small positive shift that, compared to national indicators, may indicate the beginnings of a recovery right here in central Illinois.

The combination of the regional consumer positive confidence and the educational aspects of the chambers’ campaign to spend more locally can be the right key and lock solution to more favorable local economic conditions.

The concept is common sense; when people feel good about the future, they buy more. When they’re pessimistic, they postpone. When people buy more—now and in the future—the economy strengthens, and we inch out of recession.

Most economists believe changes in the economic tide don’t raise all boats at one time. City and regional recoveries often occur in spots and ripple out from those centers, while the nation—and the media—as a whole catch up. Most of the regional research indicates better local consumer confidence and a good feeling about the future.

So, the regional indicators right now mirror slow but positive growth, and the crystal ball of future consumer confidence appears to be much brighter than that of the nation as a whole.

The regional chambers want you to consider buying locally, when given a choice, to benefit our regional economy. But, we urge you to consider the habit of buying locally to sustain growth in the region. We’re optimistic we’re a region coming out of the national economic downturn somewhat ahead of other regions.

If you believe in the benefits of leveraging your spending locally, don’t spend your money on I-55 gas and overnight delivery; buy down the street. IBI