What do YOU see in the Economy?

Some hiring down here in Dogpatch.

Low-paid service jobs, but at last, hiring.

I work for a company that manufactures a product related to the paint industry and is tied to new home construction and home sales. We were extremely slow a year ago and had lots of people laid off (including me for a while.) It was like that most of the year until things started really picking up around December of last year. We’re fairly busy right now and I’ve been seeing a lot of new faces around the plant, but they are probably temps. I noticed a couple full timers driving new or updated vehicles lately too. I talk to a lot of truck drivers and they say things are picking up all over from what they see.

Breaking news! Detroit STILL a craphole!:wink:

As an employee of a Manhattan Big-4 accounting/consulting firm I would have to agree with The Truculent Gentleman. There is nothing in Manhattan to indicate that we are in any sort of recession. The only real indication I’ve seen is that I’ve been laid off twice in the past two years. The first time was from another consulting firm I had been at for about 4 years. The second was a do-nothing corporate job in a do-nothing group at a large Fortune 500 financial services company that went through massive layoffs.

It’s pretty easy to gauge economic conditions when you work at a consulting firm. If the firm isn’t selling work, you spend a lot of time sitting around with your thumb up your ass doing bullshit work like writing proposals, attending management meetings on “business development”, and working on tiny little unprofitable projects.

From my position the situation is very mixed. I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area.

My own job seems to be very secure, and the company I work for is doing OK. However, they keep laying off people in other departments a few at a time. So morale is not so great. I think those of us that are left will get decent raises next month.

My wife is an elementary school teacher, and her school district has had terrible financial problems. First they laid off all the elementary special subject teachers – the music, art, PE, science teachers, etc. Now they are going after the regular teachers and increasing class size correspondingly. She just found out that her class has been eliminated and she’s going to have to go to another school in the district for the next school year.

Of course I know several people, family and friends, who were laid off and haven’t been able to find a job after many months of looking. Who doesn’t?

Academia is relatively insulated from the economy as a whole, and Montana is in a lot better shape than most states, so I haven’t really noticed much at all, personally. Oh, we’re struggling for money here, but we’re always struggling for money. Same old, same old.

I believe that we have yet to feel the consequences of the mistakes which have been made. And it will be only until we, as a society, once again learn how to distinguish a want from a need, that we will be back on the healthiest track for a society. Our apparent failure has been in reaching a place of balance in our beliefs and lifestyles.

Creative bookkeeping is fascinating but sometimes runs counter to what I can see happening in real life.

Even a well-oiled machine does not run efficiently when the operator is impaired.

Around here, bars and restaurants are all seemingly desperate for business—2 for 1 specials, half price weekdays, dollar beer nights, all sorts of specials to get people walking thru the doors…

If you have some disposable income to spare, you can eat and drink like a king for bargain basement prices, so it’s been nice to go out once in a while without breaking the bank!!!

There seem to be an awful lot of late model cars in the parking lots lately. I mean, a lot. I wonder if this was due to the Cash For Clunkers program that ran a short time. Or maybe I just live in a marginally wealthier area of the city.

I’m just outside of Stockton. The realestate meltdown began here so it’s kind of hard to tell from that. California itself had mixed employment news gaining some 30,000 but unemployment is still +12% and unofficially it’s 20% in my neck of the woods. The commercial real-estate market here is starting to crumble. Every shopping center I frequent has vacancies. The main mall here (well technically two malls as they sit side by side) has had its prime restaurant space empty for months. A prime waterfront hotel has entered bankruptcy. There are also un-completed real-estate developments littering the county.

I have a brother that is in construction (management) for one of San Francisco’s larger firms . He’s told me recently that they’ve eliminated all their dead weight and all the key personnel have taken pay cuts. His Marin City home has lost 70% of it’s pre-crash value. I have another brother who runs a dry-cleaners/wash service in Oakland, his business is down too.

Personally, it’s so depressing I’ve simply stopped worrying about it. But briefly, I just opened a hospital bill that looks like the starting price of homes in my area. Oh, and my Insurance company is about to raise my rates another 35%. I’m about to dump my change jar because my son needs to see the dentist. My car is dying and my tags are due.

I’m fine, but I see a lot of people who are scared. People who have always been unhappy in their jobs are stuck there. People who have always thought their jobs to be secure are afraid they’ll be downsized. People who have been denied raises or bonuses and aren’t making as much as they’d projected.

Everyone seems to be on edge. My one friend who had the most stable job of all of us, at a huge company, lost his job due to re-structuring and it was a big wake-up call for everyone with regards to job stability.

No one feels safe. Everyone I know has jobs but very few have the jobs they want, and they’re holding their breath hoping to keep ahold of these shitty jobs.

I see the economy as making a nice recovery. Which, of course, will come to a grinding halt if Obama is able to saddle us with higher taxes for the next thousand years with his health care “reform” fiasco.

IMHO, the problem has been that we have become a society obsessed with an unsustainable get-rich-quick mentality. We jump on every speculative bubble with each one producing results more disasterous than the last.

Yeh; the motto of the 00’s was practically " ‘Ca-Ching’, Baby!"

Still employed in the immigration practice group of a midsized law firm, and nobody in my practice group has been laid off. However, I haven’t had a raise in 3 years, none of the paralegals or secretaries in the firm have had raises, we didn’t replace the one secretary who left, and the only reason the junior assoicates got raises at all is that they were drastically underpaid and morale was sucking. And we have gotten practically no new H-1B or employment-based green card initiations from clients.

However, thanks to the fact that one doesn’t get to decide when one will be put in deportation proceedings, other areas of the practice group are still chugging along. But some of the clients who had been given payment plans for work already done have been laid off and simply don’t have the cash to keep paying. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and trying to stay as productive as possible.

I work for a global 100 company. Sales are picking up overall, but we had internal layoffs. China exports are picking up but I’m not clear if that is to make up for all the drawn down inventories or if it’s real net new demand.

The banks all have tons of radioactive waste on their books and have not marked a lot of stuff to market. It’s accounting smoke and mirrors. Very similar to what happened in Japan and their post bubble era - and they have yet to recover 20 years later. The banks have raised an awful lot of capital, so in much better shape than they were 18 months ago. However, Residential still has a ton of foreclosures to wind through. Commerical real estate is still in denial - no one is throwing the keys across the table yet. This is going to hit the banks hard on top of a realistic mark to market.

I share Truculent’s view of the basic economics and macro situation. Personally, think we will have a double dip and this is the eye of the hurricane.

If you have a good stable job and low debt, recessions are great times because everything is cheap. If you don’t, then it’s a depression.

What’s a stable job?

The problem is that no matter how stable you think your job is, it can still disappaer without warning.

Personally, the small IT consulting company I work for got hit with the stoppage in the lending market. No more bonuses, raises, 401k match. Thankfully the owners are very tight with money and were able to regroup with just cashflow. We’ve actually seen an uptick in business recently and have been hiring a few. But, we still don’t expect any bonus, raise, or 401k match.

My wife works for State of CA so she saw a 10% pay cut through mandatory furlough days. The state is in big trouble, so I see more darkness ahead.

People who are still working seem to be OK, but nervous. The ones who fell out through layoffs, or bad real estate moves, or both, are the ones in real trouble.

Overall I think that inventories are still being drawn down, lending hasn’t loosened up at the lower levels, shipping is down again - which to me is a leading indicator.

A lot of stuff just got postponed by the various stimulus. It’s still out there and will be dealt with eventually, the next time it’s not going to be as much safety net. I suspect the public doesn’t have much stomach for any more bank bailouts, so you wall street types better be building up your savings. I definitely see a double-dip coming.

I really appreciate everyone sharing. Please keep it up.

As far as some of the mild vitriol towards ‘Wall Street types’ just remember we are not all the same. I am not rich, I bought a home in 2008, and I am feeling the general angst that many people are feeling. In addition, while I have my job, I have $0 in salary. I only get paid when I make good decisions.

Please continue to share how YOU perceive the economy in your part of the world.

Right now, it’s dreadful. I’m unemployed and only being kept afloat by my family. There are 500 applicants for every job. But I have two interviews on Monday.

Longer term, the U.K. is in for a world of hurt. Oil is going to run out soon, we’ve not invested in nuclear power plants. Things are not good.

I’m in Taiwan, and things feel precarious as the island is so dependent on exports to the US and mainland China. Not a whole lot of hurting in terms of unemployment, and there’s national health insurance, but it’s hard to make long-term plans.

China Guy, have you been hearing much about local governments’ “off balance sheet financing” as provinces and cities get all tricksey in setting up entities to get loans for infrastrucure projects? Sounds to me like the Mother of All Enrons brewing over there.

ETA: Nonetheless, with all that being said, I’ll answer the OP’s question with one statement: Thank God I can speak Chinese. :wink: