This lunchtime we were in Liege to help a good friend celebrate his sixtieth birthday. During the course of the conversationsĀ at the lunch table I heard two encouraging examples, one institutional and the other individual, that suggest the crisis may be easing. The institution in question is an aeronautics engineering company that employs around seventy people. Nobody has been laid off, but many work less than a full week. The company has greatly reduced its outsourcing but it has deliberately continued to outsource enough to maintain the lives of its principal suppliers. Work, currently, is picking up. It is clear from this example that European businesses have been far more canny in dealing with the crisis this time around. They have maintained their workforces and their suppliers as much as possible. They have regrouped, but in order to be well-placed when the economy picks up again. The second example is a lady who quit her job as a civil servant in order to set up her own business in what she calls ‘re-looking’. Basically, she provides individuals and organisations with advice about their images. This stretches from advising a busy businessman about his wardrobe through to advising young job seekers about their dress and body language in job interviews. She launched her business at what might have been considered an inauspicious moment but, after a first few faltering steps, she has gone from strength to strength. Her success is not just a happy personal example but, once again, would seem to suggest that the economy is picking up again.