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April 20, 2004

While Stopping Back at the Attic

By necessity, desire, and design, I've been stepping outside of my little attic office more often lately and conversing with my fellow Southeast New Englanders. One thing continues to shock: their pessimism about the economy.

I get the impression that they will refuse to believe in a recovery until we've gone through another whole cycle of boom and bust. The boom will be just an uncertain blip, and the following bust will be a toldyaso. Then, depending on who's in office, they might believe that the economy isn't "in the dumper" when it turns upward again

I don't think that, on the individual level, people are consciously downplaying the economy because the Republicans are running things. It's just that the news they hear is so thoroughly crafted to cast shadows across the noonday economic landscape.

Well, I've got to go back out into the sunshine and liberalism. I'll be back later.

Posted by Justin Katz at April 20, 2004 12:19 PM

I'm in Oregon, which admittedly has the second-highest unemployment in the country. But I'm dubious about the "recovery" simply because so many of my friends are looking hard for jobs and can't find them. I believe what's in front of my nose before I believe the news reports of a recovery.

Posted by: Ampersand at April 20, 2004 3:56 PM


Well, I'm only partially employed myself, and I'm looking for work, but what I've found striking is the degree to which people have striven to undercut my optimism about the near future.

Unemployment decreases are a late marker of recovery simply based on the way money filters through the system. (Companies have to have more money before they can hand more money out.) And I believe the evidence suggests that improvement even in this area is coming. Anecdotally, I'm certainly seeing the number of jobs for which to apply increase from week to week.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 21, 2004 9:11 AM