In the wake of a shaky summer, the US consumer confidence index has reached its lowest point since 1980. Though mortgage rates are at a 60-year low, few houses are selling and many people are still coping with home values below their mortgage values. News reports today claim that the American family income has dropped for the third year in a row – to roughly 1996 levels (in inflation-adjusted terms).
Things are tough out there, right?
Yet, many area manufacturers continue to hire and invest in their businesses. Tusco Display recently opened a new facility in New Philadelphia. In a Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce survey of 43 of our larger manufacturing concerns, 26 of them plan facility or workforce expansions. And we’re on the cusp of a natural gas boom here that will bring many new businesses, people and dollars to our regional economy.
Why the disconnect? It’s two-fold. First, people are still hurting from the Great Recession of 2008-9 and feel insecure. They lack confidence to take risks, e.g., switch jobs, buy a home, start a business. They are playing things close to the vest. They’ve learned from past excesses.
Second, both federal and state governments are making many changes that make us uneasy. From ObamaCare and debt ceiling brinksmanship to SB5 and restructuring state agencies, change makes people uneasy. We like stability and predictability, things in short supply these days.
Times will improve and we will not see a repeat of 2008. Until people see it, feel it and believe it though, our lack of confidence will impair our ability to take advantage of the opportunities before us. At Tusco Display, we’re moving forward with confidence.
Posted on 5/21/2012 at 8:00:00 PM