Winter of never-ending winter

Tom Kaiser, Senior Editor

By Tom Kaiser
April 1, 2014
Filed under Tom Kaiser

Much has been written about this winter, stubborn and irritable as it continues dropping powder by the fistful in the West, Midwest, Northeast and across Canada’s underbelly.

During interviews, weather-weary dealers reach far back in the drawer for expressions like “worst winter ever,” “It won’t stop snowing; it’s still snowing” and “Mother Nature isn’t doing us any favors.” Even this morning, she still wasn’t feeling generous, as the Twin Cities morning commuters can attest, your snow-loving author included.

The thrill of late-season boot wearing calms no business owners staring at a lengthy sheet of accounts receivables unpaid by customers that haven’t yet shifted into summertime boating mode.

Remember those economic green shoots from back in 2009? This year’s version is the spate of reports bemoaning the weather, optimistic that pent-up economic growth will uncork as soon as winter packs up and heads north.

Marketwatch, among others, says we curtailed eating out, seeing movies and buying gasoline, while propane and natural gas became scarce. In its “Top 10 reasons the economy is sluggish,” it’s all about the weather.

The U.S. employment report comes Friday, and there’s a bee-like buzzing ahead of its release. Great numbers will pop the champagne, but anything less will signal additional weeks of gloom. That groundhog did the same thing two months ago.

Putting our own ear to the ground, we took advantage of a cool, bright weekend to attend the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis. Aisles were packed, booths were humming and lines were heavy with Midwesterners eager to escape the hut. Attendance, according to the NMMA was off 3 percent compared with 2013, but intensity of attendees is hard to measure.

Even with fresh jobs data, we won’t know how this year is going to pan out, but how can we be anything less than optimistic in the spring? The Farmer’s Almanac predicts much of North America will be warmer throughout the remainder of the year. It’s still snowing in Minnesota, but even a long, sputtering spring is followed by summer.

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