By nature, I am an Optimist, one of those (sometimes annoying) people who always see the glass as half-full. So, as we launch in to 2015 I look forward to it being a better year – at least in economic and business terms – than 2014. Unemployment continues to decline, inflation is tame, and the free fall in the price of oil is putting a bit more money in everyone’s pockets.
On that last point, oil prices, I recently read an article that forecast that at current oil prices each Maine household would spend $750 less on oil, gas, and propane this year. That won’t change anyone’s lifestyle but it will allow many of us to pay off debt a bit faster, save a little more for retirement, or spend that money on something that has been just out of reach for the past couple of years – perhaps a new TV, appliance, or a vacation.
Speaking of vacations, lower gas prices will hopefully encourage our neighbors to the North and South to make a trip to Maine this year – after all, we do rely heavily on tourists to power our economy. And just maybe a few of our visitors will fall in love with our state, decide to move here, and help us address the challenge we face as one of the oldest states in America. So, in my view, there is much to look forward to in 2015. My optimism remains guarded though, there are a lot of things going on around the world that could upset the apple cart. But, we have weathered some strange and challenging times in the past few years, so we will get through this, too. Back to 2015, I hope it ends up being a good year for all of us.