In his column, editor Greg Ettling reminds us to keep track of this year's directory.

This issue being your annual suppliers directory, you’ll want to keep it handy for year-round reference. Last year, we had numerous calls from people who inadvertently recycled their April issue, and we ran out of extras very quickly. This is the first year we’re including an association directory, and we only listed those groups which returned a directory form. If you’d like your organization included in future directories, send us a note requesting the 2004 directory form.

Economic indicator news is being trumped by considerations about war.

Gauging the Economy

Are we at war today?

Forget the Dow, the S&P 500, Mr. Greenspan, gross domestic product, housing starts, unemployment figures and any other economic indicators. War seemingly is the only thing that matters to our current economic situation. There are a lot of good signs out there – benign inflation, inventory growth, construction spending and still–strong home sales chief among them – but they all are overshadowed by the prospect of war. One leading economist says the ebb and flow of news from Iraq and North Korea has accounted for 30 percent to 70 percent of the daily variations in the markets for the past five months. And all of this has been happening with war merely looming; everything will be somewhat different if and when that first body bag shows up on CNN.

If there is going to be a war, it probably would be best for it to begin sooner rather than later. A popular theory holds that a quick, decisive victory (most probable) and a smooth aftermath (significant question mark) will loosen the current economic log jam and get us on the fast track to a complete, healthy recovery. A nice theory, indeed – one hopefully not feuled too much by wishful thinking.

Help Wanted

On our Web poll (www.drilleronline. com) we recently asked, “Do you plan on hiring aditional employees in the next six months?” Sixty-one percent responded “yes” and 39 percent said “no.” A little digging revealed that no small amount of these additional hires will be seasonal employees, but it’s still a good sign because approximately a year ago, those numbers were close to 50:50.

And we’re asking you for your help. Many of you will receive in the mail our 2003 Salary & Compensation Survey. Please take the few moments needed to complete the survey and return it to us. We’ll publish the results in an upcoming issue, and you can see how you compare to others in the drilling industry.

Just Curious

Which advertisement in this issue do you think is the best?