Sheila Penrose: Optimism – in the short term at least

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Sheila PenroseAs I talk to business leaders — and, yes, uncover a few business leads — and hear from session speakers here, the message on the global economy seems consistent… optimism with a note of caution, and with a short-term horizon.

There’s general agreement that things are on the upswing – albeit muted – in the developed economies, with the U.S. leading the charge.

But there is also broad consensus that the impact of the financial crisis has been longer-lived than expected. While low interest rates could have been expected to prompt public investment, fiscal deficits — amplified by low tax revenues — have pushed governmental decisions in the other direction.

Another area of broad agreement… the recovery will be accompanied by slow employment growth, as cheap capital funds technology investments that raise labor productivity and slow hiring.

At a session on building trust and corporate performance, two pieces of useful advice: focus on the trend lines rather than the headlines; and make sure that your actions are values-based, not just compliance-based. It’s comforting that this is advice that JLL tries to live by!