Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Signs of Recession

I have not been personally affected by the current economic downturn - - yet. One of my friends was laid-off from GE, but that had been known about for years. He was able to find another job, with a commute of 90 miles each way.

Even without watching the news, I’ve seen the signs that things are not good, some subtle, some obvious.

On the subtle side, I called my dentist’s office on Monday to make an appointment for my check up and cleaning. They were able to book me for…today. I also called the optometrist and scheduled my eye checkup for Monday the 23rd In 20 years of making these kinds of appointments, I’ve never been able to book closer than a month in advance. But, in a recession, people begin putting off expenses they deem not immediately pressing, and in the absence of illness or other symptoms, that includes medical, dental, and eye care. If these items were not covered by my Progressive health plan, I’d probably be putting them off too.

On the obvious side, more and more stores are closing - - go to any mall and you’ll see for yourself. Restaurants are closing by the dozen, especially non-chain restaurants. As bad as the news from the auto and banking industries is, the frightening story you’re not hearing about in the media is the shutdown of small companies that make pieces/parts that supply the larger companies. Not just laying off, but shutting down. Once the economy recovers, larger companies will need the items these small companies produced, but it will be more difficult to restart them, which means more imports from God knows where.

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