Anybody else gettin’ the feeling that the U.S. economy might be starting to wobble a bit? I know that I don’t really know enough to put together my own comprehensive analysis, but I’ve noted some worrisome details of late.
Wednesday of last week, my partner and opened a securities account and the broker managed to talk us out of pursuing the kind of wild idea we had, so we retreated to study a bit. I’m glad we did; that would’ve been about the worst time to buy anything, blue chip or speculative, as everything seems to have been sliding since. And the Internet stocks are taking a beating in the press.
Two weeks ago I heard an unemployment figure for my area of 5.3%; that seems high for a city that’s supposedly booming.
I spent an evening this week w/the president of a heavy equipment leasing outfit and a commercial insurance exec. The tractor guy, who told me six months ago that it was hard to imagine business being any better, said that just this week they’ve decided to defer any capital expenditures as they’re detecting a leveling off of activity. I’m not really sure I understood what the insurance guy was telling me, but it seemed to be along the lines of insurance companies attracting investment when the stock market tanks, and that is what they are anticipating.
For about 3 years now there’s been a building boom going on around here w/the residential effort being the building of 3-4 townhomes where a single-family dwelling had been. It had seemed that most of these sported a sold sign while abuilding and occupants upon completion. Lately I’ve noticed a few finished and unsold units. A half-block project two blocks up my street has apparently stalled for about a month now.
Energy prices have been climbing since February and are as high as they’ve been for a few years; that usually has a braking effect on parts of the economy. And I’m hearing on the news that the Fed is getting antsy about inflation and might just get around to raising interest rates.
I read the following this morning in today’s Independent:
Oh yeah, we’ve got this drought going on as well.
How about it, economists? I realize a lot of the above is anecdotal, but is it all really just normal hiccoughs and burps of a chugging economy, or are we looking at a slowdown?