Some Economic News:
LA Times: “Los Angeles County poverty rate fell in 2007, census data show: Other Southern California counties also show slight declines. The effects of the sharp economic downturn and rising unemployment since last year are unclear.”
NY Times: “Average U.S. Income Showed First Rise Over 2000”
Then a LAT article asks:
We have a market paradox on our hands. Consumer confidence is close to a 40-year low, suggesting that the economy is in worse shape now than in times that seemed far darker, such as the early 1980s, when both inflation and unemployment crept into double digits. Yet many of the current economic indicators, including inflation and unemployment, are rather positive — or at least not as negative as consumer sentiment implies.
So why are consumers, myself included, so gloomy?
The article goes on to suggest that consumers helplessness in the face of larger economic challenges drives the negative sentiment.
I’ll suggest an alternate answer – and actually pass on the obvious one which that the media is bearish on the economy – like they are on foreign policy, the environment and everything else – out of partisan loyalty to the Democratic party. Personally, I’ve heard this, think it’s interesting, but don’t buy it.
I’ll suggest another reason:
New York Times Co., the third-largest U.S. newspaper publisher, reported revenue fell 10.1 percent in July as a slumping U.S. economy led to the steepest monthly declines in retail and classified advertising this year.
Ad sales decreased 16.2 percent to $129.4 million from a year earlier, led by drops of 30.1 percent in classifieds and 13.3 percent in retail ads, the New York-based company said today in a statement. July revenue was $235.9 million.
The people whose job it is to shape our attitudes about our economy are among those getting slammed the worst by the current – admittedly complex – economy.
I can’t help but believe their own tribulations bleed over into their perceptions of the wider world.
I’ve said for a long time that the economy is like a Napoleon – what the French call a mille-feuille (thousand layer pastry). The layers are loosely connected to other layers, but connections are much more strong within the layer itself.
Just food for thought.