Friday, December 11, 2009

A beam of light at the end of the recession

By Alma Zhumagulova

Consumer spending amounts for about two thirds of the economy. This in effect implies that in order to recover from the recession people have to start spending. However, this is not so easy given the current unemployment rate. Even if it has recently gone down from 10.2% to 10%, it is still 15.4 million people who are out of job and barely making their ends meet.
Speaking of retail sales, November sales have shown a sign of optimism – a rise of 1.3% from October. This year, Black Friday spending went up from the last years; however much of it was due to the deep discounts offered by retailers in their battle for increasing their sales. The winners in this battle were electronics; the average price of laptops was $475 compared to $638 last year. Hence, the volume of sales increased while still leaving the retailers at a loss.
A relatively new sales tactic – Cyber Monday – Monday after thanksgiving holiday, when various retailers offer deep discounts to online shoppers, also contributed to this rise, when on November 30, the sales rose by 5% to $887 but almost immediately went down after the discounts were no longer offered.
Overall, U.S. retail sales have increased “for the 13th straight week in the beginning of December.” If the trend continues, this will at least give the US economy a beam of light at the end of the tunnel called recession.



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