What a difference a year makes! No Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. No baseball, period. A Democratic minority leader in Congress.
Time passes. Things change. Of that we can be certain.
And it's interesting to monitor such change. Our recently conducted pro-cessor poll, the results of which we published last issue, provides an interesting yardstick by which to measure.
While we know such surveys are not scientifically precise, we still believe them to be more than merely anecdotal.
We conducted our 1994 and 1995 ``outlook'' surveys of U.S. and Canadian processors 11 months apart, with both generating about 350 replies, or roughly a 40 percent response rate. But that's where most of the similarities end.
Consider the question: ``What external factors play the greatest role in your expectations for the coming year?'' A year ago, the flavor-of-the-month topic was health-care reform, with one out of every two survey respondents citing it as a major issue. In the 1995 outlook survey, health care tumbled to 10th place, with only 13 percent of respondents mentioning it.
Conversely, rocketing to the top of the issues list in the most recent poll were resin pricing and availability - topics that didn't even merit a mention a year ago.
Three topics that displayed some constancy in meriting processor attention were interest rates, customer growth prospects and federal tax changes. Interest rates ranked No. 3 (with 43 percent) in 1994, compared with No. 2 (40 percent) this year. Growth or cutbacks by customers, meanwhile, weighed in as No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in 1994 and 1995, while taxes ranked No. 4 (cited by one out of three readers) in our 1994 survey, and reappeared more recently as No. 7 (garnering 19 percent).
At the same time, concerns over the ability to attract qualified workers are higher this year, while environment and recycling issues slipped well down the board.
Yet another external factor has reared its head, even in the time since we polled our readers for their thoughts on 1995-Mexico's economy collapsed and the peso headed south on a Lear jet.
Oh well. Just chalk it up to change.