Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Signs that the economy is bad: odd jobs edition

Here we go again with another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. So, how do you know when the economy is bad? I mean, besides the pundits telling us that the economy is bad, and the long lines at the unemployment office. Well, when certain roles start reversing, that usually is a sign. Then again, as this week's highlights show, sometime not even the experts are sure.

  • When Mexican immigrants in the States actually have to get money from their Mexican relatives instead of sending money back to Mexico.
  • And if things were not bad enough for Latino immigrants (i.e. the illegal ones certain people complain about), apparently White Americans are now taking the jobs that Americans had been refusing to do that those Latino immigrants were doing. Got that? Jack Cafferty of CNN briefly goes over a report in USA Today. He writes, "USA Today reports that a growing number of American citizens are headed to street corners and parking lots of home improvement stores to find day-labor work - jobs usually done by illegal aliens." You know the economy has to be bad when American citizens (read mostly White) are suddenly competing for jobs they used to see as not good enough for them.
  • When you can make money as a private jet repo man. If you were man enough to keep your private jet, but you failed to pay for it, you are going to lose it anyways.This is one of a few odd jobs that pay well in this economy, according to Newsweek.
  • When librarianship is not exactly a growth career, but don't take my word for it. The Librarian in Black picks up on the story that librarian salaries and job prospects are not so good. A statement of the obvious, but what else is new? I am starting to consider one of those odd jobs such as futurist or golf ball diver.
  • When libraries become automated like ATM kiosks. The Librarian in Black picks up the story of the staffless library and discusses the true costs.
  • When televangelists fail to raise enough money. Yes, I know this can be seen as a cheap shot, but Oral Roberts, who just passed away (link to BBC) did say "that God would strike him dead if he failed to raise $8m for his City of Faith medical centre in the 1980s. He attracted $9m but it later closed." He's probably keeping company in the same hell where Jerry Falwell is at. Can you tell I am not too sympathetic for people who use their religion to scam people or promote bigotry and intolerance?
And as if things weren't bad enough, the experts can't even agree:
  • According to the Conference Board, consumers are expected to be in a frugal mood (link to the press release. and spend less during the holiday season. From the press release, "U.S. households are expected to spend an average of $390 on Christmas gifts this holiday season, down from last year's estimate of $418, The Conference Board reports today."
  • On the other hand, the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association both agree that consumers will exercise less restraint in spending (link to the press release. You can find the full survey on the site), so they will spend more. From the press release: "'Consumers are telling us they will not cut back as much on spending as last year, but more so than in previous years,' said CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel." Ok, so they will spend more, but still less.
So, are things bad enough to curtail spending, or can we go spend some more to make up for the fact we spent less before because things were really fucked up before (not that they are any less screwed up now)? Now, I try to make light of the situation, but it is not because I am heartless or mean. It does concern me, but to be perfectly honest, I am pretty sick and tired of the way it is so hyped and sensationalized while the government pretty much sells itself to lobbyists and the private banking and wealth sectors that caused the mess get away with it, and from the looks of it are gearing up to do it again. So for me the best option is to try to get a smile or two out of the whole clusterfuck in order to keep some degree of sanity. Maybe if the regular people took some time to read and inform themselves, like I do, and actually voted out the morons promoting this mess, things might actually change. But hey, what do I know? I am just a librarian. In the meantime, I will keep on pointing out the real signs that the economy is bad. Because anyone can look at the GDP or the unemployment numbers. But you have to look for those oh so subtle signs, and I am more than happy to do it for my three readers.

A hat tip to Docuticker for the consumer surveys above.
A hat tip to Pharyngula on the Oral Roberts story.

No comments: