Even as most veterinary clinics reportedly continue to grow or at least maintain their business levels during the economic downturn, veterinary clients are functioning within greatly altered fiscal circumstances. Though indications are that a resurgence is underway, recent findings from the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research predict a new economic reality different from anything that’s come before.
While recovery will come, things won’t be exactly as they were, points out University of Michigan economist Richard Curtin. He cites a combination of withered consumer confidence and shaky job security along with reduced home and stock values as being key to a more hesitant bounce back. While the economy is giving more back to consumers, they're keeping it. This is different from previous economic recoveries. For example, while fuel consumption returned to previous levels in the wake of the 1970s gas shortages, the current trend is for consumers to remain conservative in their fuel usage and to seek “green” alternatives in case such a situation should arise again. Additionally, worries about retirement security are causing people to save instead of purchase large ticket items such as vehicles and homes—chief forces in an economic turnaround.
This lack of a strong return surge combined with concerns over projected unemployment—yet another variable causing consumer caution—and lingering problems with credit availability all point to a slow recovery. While the outlook is positive, the future economic picture may not resemble the one we used to know for quite some time.