Tuesday, May 19, 2015
State of the Union Address...Or How I See the Economy at Present
Annabelle of Bluebirds Are Nesting wrote a great post on being watchful. She has seen a lot of strong storms and flooding in her country lately and that has prompted her to prepare for such. I mentioned in a comment that in the past, I've watched economic forecasts...and realized this was something I'd not done in quite a while. Annabelle wrote and asked me, "What are the economic signs at present in your country?" We've seen some new construction in our area but what are the real facts?
In the U.S., with election year just around the corner it's obvious that a spit and polish is put on the economy as well as current programs that are in effect. That's standard issue for just about anywhere I suppose. So I am a little leery of government figures at the moment. However, I need to be aware, this is an area where we all need to be aware. It's important that we know where we are, so that we can prepare for where we are going, just like keeping a budget tells us where we are and where we need to go.
The area where I live in Georgia, is rural and economically depressed. It has been for all the years I've been here. We don't see construction as a rule. Right now the Rural Electric company is building two new facilities in our small town. That's the first new construction we've seen here in 10 years. Will it provide local jobs? I don't think it's very likely to be honest. But new people will be coming into our community to work. I hope that means new businesses (likely food related). Sad news is that we're losing our only hardware/auto parts store.
So not a lot of research to be done in my community, I looked wider. What did I see? Again some new construction of businesses, some housing. It's very slow construction and not fast openings of businesses, but it's growth, however slow.
In the area where we vacation we saw LOADS of construction. It's an area that thrives on tourists and vacationing families. So lots of homes being built or renovated. Most of the For Sale signs in that area were on vacant lots.
So the visible signs are that the economy is improving. People are working once again (construction and skilled labor) but...what is the real forecast?
The unemployment figures through April of this year reports more than 2 million unemployed. In percentages they report unemployment at 49%. That means that half the people once employed in this nationares no longer working. Those figures don't include the never employed nor those who have stopped receiving benefits but are still looking for work.
We still hear reports of small counties, especially rural ones, with economic troubles. Not enough tax base to operate, much less to replace or improve equipment and maintain buildings or raise county employee salaries.
Things are not any better...but they don't appear to be getting worse.