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.


Julie Baker said...

You are quite impressive with how you manage your budget. Things being as they are require that most of us are diligent with the care we use to manage our expenses.Knowing that you can do it inspires others to believe that we can too. P.S. I am hopeful that politically speaking common sense will win out eventually and am hopeful that the next presidential election sees Ben Carson in office.

Anonymous said...

We see growth here. A good bit of the building is warehouses that after being built remain unoccupied though.
Looks good but does not bring employment or tax money. What we do see are many businesses and even events that used to bring money to our town moving to other towns. This has been happening for years. Makes you wonder about the town government. Why do the businesses want to move? They seriously only move one or two small towns away. Those once dismal towns are thriving!! With so many things moving from here we finally had to go there to get much our shopping and such done. :(( We try to first find a place to get anything here but have to finally go elsewhere many times. This is not a small town but is seriously going downhill. Even declared bankruptcy. I can say we see a lot of construction in the other towns. Stores and factories. Although we do not live there, they seem to be occupied and up and running well.
With our National Debt and other considerations I do not feel very comfortable in general with the economy. Who would? Seriously much of our labor here are not citizens and return as much of their pay as possible to their home country. Honestly not a lot of taxes are paid either if I am to believe those who work among them...and even hear ourselves from the workers. As illegal as it might be this is happening all over. People come here to get jobs however they have to do it. That is something that has always been happening everywhere.
Our area is a depressed one too. It is sad though to see it's decline through the years. Why do the outlining cities on all sides of us grow and grow when we do not?
It really hits you when the one hardware/auto parts store leaves doesn't it. They hung on as long as they could I imagine. What a sad day. We do try to shop here and the local shops as much as we possibly can. Only going to a chain store when we have to even in our town. Our area of this town is rural and so many here can grown things and even have animals. That is a help.
I get more and more weary of politics and elections with each passing year. We all hold out hope for a change for the better. For one reason or another most never happen. Even the campaign talk can't be believed. The only one we can truly depend on is God and I am very grateful for that. We are not to look to man to be the changer and biggest mover in our lives. All of mankind is fallible. He is a human, not God. Sarah

Tracy Lee said...

There is lots of growth in my area, but I do live in a tourist area as well. The downside of that is though business is booming on the beaches during the summer months, the businesses on the beach cut hours tremendously so it's necessary to get a second job just to make ends meet.

In my town, we've just had Academy Sports open as well as Shoe Station. They are building a huge sportsplex down the road and there is house construction going on. I believe another big name store going in, but can't for the life of me remember the name of it at the moment.

I don't think the economy has recovered no matter what the government says.

Karla Neese said...

There is a lot of growth here in Oklahoma too, although some of it has been slightly suppressed/slowed in recent months with falling oil prices. Still, the building is going strong. We are getting new chain business here all the time in the Oklahoma City area and so that has to mean more jobs and more money into the economy.

I find that I too am lowering my grocery budget now that we have 1 less person in our home but I still have a very long way to go to get back into the frugal category.

I agree with Tracy - I don't think the economy has recovered as much as Washington would have us believe. I think we've all just adjusted our own lives to live with the reality we face as non-politicians.

Anonymous said...

Oh I did forget one area where business is booming here. Dollar stores. We have I believe 5 national chains represented multiple times in town. All but one are new as of 3 years ago. It is like on every corner.! :-) Four years ago one chain tried to open and the then mayor said no. They looked "tacky" and no way did she want them in town when we were trying to keep a nice shopping area. Well she is gone and they are springing up like mushrooms everywhere!!! :-))) Sarah

Lana said...

I have said all the way through the economic downturn that it all depended on your particular situation as to how you felt about it. We live in an area with new jobs in the thousands in the last few years. Real estate values are way up and the value of our house kind of shocks me. New businesses and neighborhoods are popping up everywhere. Three years ago we went through nine months of unemployment and thankfully my husband did get a great job but he spends an hour and a half on the road every day. We have eight years until retirement and we are putting everything we can into savings
. I keep reminding myself that denying our wants now and driving our old vehicles will pay off later. We have everything we need and more so I cannot complain bit there are some wants that I can have a bad attitude about if I let myself.

Lana said...

You must mean Dollar General. It is the same here and we now have one really convenient to home. It is so easy to run there for much of what I used to go to WalMart for. It is a great place to find small unique gifts, too.

Wendi said...

I live in the outskirts of a large city. I am seeing growth with the building of apartments and my father-in-law (who is a realtor) said that the real estate market is starting to pick up. (He also said it is very difficult to get a mortgage at the moment.) I also see many vacant retail spaces in strip malls. I think that the earnings report from WalM*art says mountains about how the average joe is feeling. I know that I don't have much confidence that the economy has improved much.

Anonymous said...

We had a couple 99cent Only Stores for years. And one Dollar Tree some distance from us. In the last year we have gotten many Dollar Generals and Family Dollars too and at least 4 More Dollar Trees and 99cent Only stores. Plus there are several different independent 99c stores..some new, some old. On one street there are one of each and down the street a second of one of them!! I do some shopping there and each has things the others don't seem to carry but many does one town need? lol :-)..We see more starting to be built !! Just outside of our town naturally starts even more of the dollar stores! I remember when we had many independent hardware stores and dress shops, hobby shops and sewing places etc etc. Now it is chain stores of everything it seems. We do try to shop at the independents as much as possible. i wonder where Wendi lives? Texas? Sarah

Annabel Smith said...

Terri thank you for this. It is so interesting! In Australia we just had our National budget and our Treasurer said on tv "now that the US has returned to full employment" i am not kidding!
We borrow over $90 million a day and our debt is growing and growing. I hear the numbers for our countries (of national debt) and the numbers I cant even comprehend! Will we end up like Greece?
Everyone I know here (australia) is cutting their budgets too as they just have to. Interesting times that is for sure. But it is so god to see you and others do a good job of living well for less money. Also I am commenting on your next post... I totally understand being nervous waiting for your daughter to have a baby. I was very anxious. We now have a baby Grand daughter that is beautiful. So I hope your daughter goes really well, I cant wait to hear! xxx

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