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July 03, 2010

Local signs of the dempression

Of course there's plenty of the usual indicators starting to show "the recovery" is about as genuine as the Easter Bunny.

But, there are other more visceral, individually observable indicators I've been seeing out in the street indicating not just a "slowdown" of business associated with typical recessions where only the really weak go under, rather wholesale devastation of long standing medium sized businesses to the point where they're closing up shop. Obviously, its much easier to ramp an existing business than to start a new one from scratch.

We are now to the point where the "easy path" to future jobs growth has been, and is being, destroyed wholesale. The small/medium sized companies with say a core of 50-100 employees that might have been able to double that during good times are simply vanishing.

Owners who might have been able to struggle hard, stay afloat, and keep going have decided that in the business hostile environment we have currently, its easier to just pack it in if they're personally comfortable enough to be able to retire. Maybe it wasn't the caliber of retirement they'd hoped for, but they're rationally realizing the intangibles of peace of mind and having some free time are worth something. Thousands have decided to stop trying to shovel sand against the tide and just go with the flow.

Absent a significant political realignment in Washington, I find it unlikely we'll see those former business owners reenter the business of creating businesses and jobs.

Other local observations of a micro nature:

Some busy intersections where there had previously been one guy with a sign panhandling, now have three competing.

There has been a big local uptick in the percentage of women panhandling. This suggests to me that the job losses are extending into areas they hadn't previously. Women had been hurt some by the dempression, but nowhere near the extent that men were.

But...as all those small/medium sized businesses close up shop, their office staff gets streeted along with the rest of the guys out in the field.

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posted by Purp at 11:33 PM

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