Coping with hard times

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Robert Powell

Virginia businesses face soaring gasoline prices and a slowing economy as they enter August. What are their prospects for the last four months of the year and for 2009?

Virginia Business teamed up with Richmond-based Chmura Economics and Analytics to provide a forecast for the state and six of its major regions. Economist Christine Chmura expects Virginia to fare better than the nation as a whole, but she anticipates that the depressed housing market will continue to drag on the commonwealth’s economy.  Robert Burke reports on her findings beginning on page 16.

Much of the country’s growing economic woes are tied to the subprime mortgage crisis, which has hurt many banks. On page 83, Doug Childers examines what banks in Virginia and elsewhere are doing to rebuild their capital and provide more loans.

The economy’s problems have punished the stock market, making the task of saving for retirement even more difficult for baby boomers. Aaron Kremer reports on page 85 that many boomers already consider themselves part of the “sandwich generation,” squeezed by growing financial responsibilities for college-age children and aging parents.

These problems call for the expertise of financial experts, such as the men and women represented in our annual CFO of the Year awards. On page 67, you will meet the five winners of this year’s contest, profiled by Donna C. Gregory and Heather B. Hayes.

These CFOs helped their companies handle adversity and continue growing. We would like your help in identifying other Virginia companies that are finding a way to succeed despite the worsening economy. Go to VirginiaBusiness.com to nominate a company or enter your own firm for the 2008 Virginia Small Business Success Story.

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