According to people who know, consumer confidence has reached a high point for 2009, driven by an improving short-term outlook.
Now the question. Why? Is it because there is genuinely good news about the economy? Or is it because if you tell people something often enough, they’ll believe it? In the wake of the collapsing economy, there was pushback against the media for telling “too much bad news.” The assertion, not without merit, was that the media was making it worse.
Since then, politicians have done their best to put a happy face on things by viewing a declining economy as good news because it isn’t declining as fast as it was. And the media have picked up on the “improving economy” narrative in many of their stories.
But where’s the evidence that things are improving?
Today, for example, Medtronic announced it’s going to slash 1,500 jobs, 600 of them in the Twin Cities.
Everyone is waiting for the real estate market to bounce back, and while there have been a few stories documenting an increase in home sales, I tend to pay attention to clued-in people like Teresa Boardman, who writes the St. Paul Real Estate blog and yesterday suggested that it’s a stretch to say things are brightening.
In the last couple of weeks I have been reading that we have hit bottom and things will get better. I want to believe it but I don’t.
Activity has picked up in the housing market but the prices have gone down, there are too many foreclosures and there are two many people who want to sell but can not because they owe more on their homes than they can sell them for.
The auto industry has just ordered many dealerships in Minnesota to close. And on Midmorning today, legislators reminded us that the tide of job losses in Minnesota aren’t expected to ebb until next year… maybe. And in the wake of the mess at the Capitol, hospitals are laying off people already.
Maybe things are getting better for people. How about you? Are you more optimistic? Why or why not?