According to many sources, the recession is over. Unemployment is at a record low and the economy is strong. However, are these reports true? There are many signs that our economy is not as strong as the government wants you to believe.
The Fall of the Retail Industry
Sears, a major retailer, has been struggling for years. This year, they’ve finally gone broke. They are not the only ones. In 2018, a dozen retailers went bankrupt. These include major chains such as David’s Bridal, Sears (they had a brief reprieve), Mattress Firm, National Stores, Gumps and Kiko. Toys R Us and K-Mart have also gone under. Consider that these retailers employ thousands of people and some were economic hubs for low-income communities. Not just low-income individuals would be affected by this. White collar jobs, such as corporate lawyers and accountants, have no doubt been affected by the fall of these corporations.
Sears employs eighty-nine thousand people. David’s Bridal employs nine-thousand. Mattress Firm employs 10,000.Surely, these companies filing for bankruptcy have had some sort of effect on the unemployment rate. Yet, we are told that we have record low unemployment. How can this be? In my own town, the former storefronts for Toys R Us and K-Mart remain vacant. Poverty here is at twenty-two percent. The former stores, now closed, are haunting reminders of vibrant companies that once functioned to give some life to the local economy.
There are more vacant storefronts than these in my town. On one drive, I counted two local businesses that have shut down in the last year. This may only be my local economy, but it may also be sign of a national trend.
A Christmas Surprise
This Christmas, spending by the American consumer dropped sharply and was far below the estimates most economists predicted. On Christmas Eve, the Dow dropped six-hundred and fifty three points. This is not an encouraging economic sign. Combined with the bankruptcy of many major retailers, this is a sign that our economy is in trouble.
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