Look no further than any one of a number of economic-impact studies released on everything from high-speed rail to cruise ships.
Let's take a look at a couple of recently released analyses.
One claims high-speed rail will generate up to 27,500 jobs and new business valued at nearly $3 billion for Orlando. Another says Port Canaveral will create 3,300 new jobs in just two years, a 23 percent increase over existing jobs today.
These amazing numbers are enough to convince the most downtrodden that we're just around the corner from economic nirvana.
Just be careful not to dig too far below the surface. You may find the numbers are a little squishy and often depend on a major alignment of the stars to come true.
Wish I may, wish I might these job projections be air-tight.
That is not to say economic impact studies are completely useless. Government agencies and private business pay good money for them to justify all manner of new projects and policies.
Just consider the source and take the numbers with a grain of salt.
The study on high-speed rail, for example, was conducted by Siemens for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Siemens, a multi-national company with a strong track record in rail, is competing for the very contract it hinges its study on. The company wants to supply the trains that will deliver the $2.9 billion in new business sales and 27,500 potential new jobs to Orlando that are cited in the study.
Of course, a lot must happen to even begin to ground these numbers in reality.
Orlando, Miami and Tampa must secure about $10 billion still needed to construct the system. And, according to the fine print, "potential impacts" by the year 2035 depend on multiple factors, not the least of which is that the train will run from Orlando to Tampa and Miami at 220 mph rather than the expected slower speed of 168-186 mph.
On top of that, the cities must invest billions more into local transit systems that would feed the high-speed lines and increase their appeal over flying and driving.
Over at Port Canaveral, which paid about $50,000 to Martin Associates of Lancaster, Pa., for an economic impact study also released this month, the future is just as rosy.
The 39-page study, perhaps anticipating some skepticism, references its "defensibility" no fewer than six times. It bases its 2009 numbers on a survey of 100 percent of the tenants, operators and businesses at the port.
A number that can't help but raise eyebrows, though, is the job count projected for 2012, a startling rise in just two years in any economic climate from 13,093 to 16,124. The study says 3,000 new jobs will be the result of larger cruise ships, a new fuel storage facility and other growth.
That figure is estimated from a complex formula that includes direct jobs as well as "induced" and "indirect" jobs and includes assumptions such as the success of a new day cruise gambling ship after three such ships stopped operating there in the past two years.
But all of that detail is for realists who can't accept a world of only best-case scenarios.
If you're looking for some cheer, just pick up one of these studies, kick back and have a good read.
Beth Kassab can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5448. Read her blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/thebottomline.