A Slightly Better 2013

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Scott WebbHappy New Year and welcome to 2013, the first year without a repeating digit since 1987.

And if you're reading this, the world must not have ended on 12/21/2012. Good. I wasn't sure — we went to press before the Mayan calendar ran out of days.

With armageddon safely in the rearview mirror, we turn our thoughts to the year to come, and what may be in store for us.

For three years running, I've been predicting exactly the same thing: That is, a GDP growth rate creeping along around 1 to 2 percent, with continued uncertainty and general feelings of apprehension keeping consumers and businesses cautious and restrained. In short, more of the same, with a very slight uptick.

Of course, I've nailed it every time.

I boldly make that prediction yet again.

Our general drift will persist. The housing market will continue to heal like a stone bruise, and employment and wages will remain fairly stagnant, but the very slight improvement will be welcome, nonetheless.

All this will be reflected in our industry: That is, more people will be willing to buy pools, and more people will be willing to buy spas, but not a lot more.

On the bright side, I think we're all getting used to this. We're getting used to an ever-higher rate of productivity and a more focused workplace. We're getting used to the idea that we're going to have to earn every single dollar. The days of easy prosperity and extravagance are slipping farther and farther into the past. One day they'll be just old-timer stories.

Probably a good thing, too; that reckoning was bound to happen. And after all, none of this affects the things that really matter in life one whit. We all know what they are — and their prospects in 2013 remain as bright as ever.

Scott Webb

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