Tonight in his State of the Union Address, President Obama talked about a path toward economic recovery and job growth. As CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association, I am confident that the cooperative business community will do its part to help to grow the economy. There are more than 29,000 cooperatives operating in every sector of the US economy, sustaining 2 million jobs each year, contributing $652 billion in annual sales and possessing $3 trillion in assets.
But cooperatives are more than dollars and cents. Cooperatives are sustainable businesses that represent the needs and interests of working families. Whether it's farmers looking for ways to get their products to market; consumers in search of healthy foods, affordable housing and financial services; small businesses seeking back office support and access to group buying power; or individuals looking for meaningful work, cooperatives offer a solution and an opportunity.
Because they focus on meeting the needs of their member owners, cooperatives have fared better during the recession than many for-profit businesses. Credit unions have seen tremendous growth as consumers seek institutions that value their members and offer better services. Worker cooperatives have grown as people take charge of their own economic situation. Consumer cooperatives are expanding and continuing to invest in their communities. Businesses of all sorts are forming purchasing cooperatives to aggregate their buying power and reduce the cost of doing business.
This year, as the president and Congress focus on growing small businesses and creating jobs, NCBA will seek to ensure they understand and recognize the success the cooperative structure can have in the economic recovery of our great nation.
Michael V. Beall
President and Chief Executive Officer