This morning I watched some business news on TV. There was a good bit of talk about the recession ending.
I went to a lunch meeting. More talk of the recession ending.
Problem was, nobody was doing much business.
This afternoon, I called on a few retail businesses. A furniture store was calling it quits at the end of the week. A few others were hanging on by a thread.
This evening, on the way home, I listened to Ivy League economists talk about the recession. People are really hurting, they say. People are losing everything — but it’s almost over.
Even when it is over, they said, there are serious problems that have nothing to do with this recession. Health care. A huge shift of wealth to the top. The real problems began in 1980.
One guy called in to the radio and said his father was a librarian who earned enough to own two cars, take vacations, and send several children to college — while his wife stayed home and worked as a full-time mom.
It probably won’t be like that again.
A woman called. She just graduated from college and got a job that pays 30k per year. She lives at home and feels pretty trapped. She owes 40k for her education. Not that much, compared to many.
Here’s what I gather from all of this. It may be almost over. In fact, it may be over. But things won’t get better until consumers resume consuming. And — they won’t start buying stuff if they are afraid they will lose their jobs.
People are still losing jobs, but not as many.
When people feel safe about their jobs, they’ll start buying, and business will improve for everybody.
The stock market is great, but Main Street is all about jobs, fear, and hope.
Still, when it gets better, it won’t be that great.
That said — my wife fixed a really nice dinner and I took a pleasant, late-night walk with my dog.
I listened to some spiritual stuff — rather uplifting — under a very bright, almost full moon. Walked for an hour. Not as hot and humid as it was a couple of days ago. Pretty nice for early August in North Carolina.