Monday, September 14, 2009

Post consumerism indicators

What are some of the latest post consumerism indicators.

Smaller homes.
Americans loose their appetite for Mcmansions

For the first time in nearly 14 years, the median size of a new single-family home decreased, to 2,215 square feet last year, from 2,277 square feet in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That doesn't seem like much, but in this case the market is not exactly open. Most homes are still built on speculation, most need to have a mortgage (which limits who is currently buying-teh better off) and the consumer has not completely adapted.

This summer my wife and I completed and obtained a final inspection on an 1,152 SF two/three bedroom, two bath home, with 250 SF of covered deck and another 250 SF of open deck. The kitchen was middle level, the floors were upscale as was the exterior (cedar shingles) and a hefty roof.  My wife's, comment, "I could live in this house", and we do.. Our main residence is about 2200 SF and I have mapped out where my wife and I live (along with the five cats). We live in about 1000 SF of the house. The rest is for show and to house our collection of stuff. As we are rapidly de-aquiring it will soon become obvious that we don't need the extra space. The trick then will be to find someone who needs and can afford it.

Less room to keep stuff. No problem, get less stuff, to bankers chagrin.

No credit.

Consumer credit fell a record $21.6 billion in July from June’s. U.S. Federal Reserve Bank

Consumer credit dropped to $2.56 trillion in revolving and non-revolving lines of credit, a 10% decline at an annual rate.  The amount of consumer credit has been falling for six months. Without credit card buying, consumerism is dying,  however those embedded in the system are still in denial.

Those lousy replacement jobs aren't going to get better.

So you lost your job in banking, but you always wanted to be a baker anyway. You cashed your children's college fund to go to culinary school for six months and you've opened up your cake shop down the street. But wait, where are the customers? You tell yourself, that when things pick up in  few weeks (months, years) your family will be on easy street again. Don't count on it! Small business account for most bankruptcies. Small business bankruptcies jumped by 81% in June. (

Small businesses are described as those with fewer than 500 employees. So what chance do you have with your dream job. My guess working as a baker a Sam's club if you are lucky, (benefits of a sort) or at the local coffee shop for minimum wages and no benefits.

Oh, if you are a boomer and have traded down from a $100K+ job to a $50K job, don't plan on moving back up. This is just one of the benefits accruing to employers. A rush to the bottom in wages. When things improve, you will be asked to do more. (while continually reminded of your luck to have a job).

PS. College educated youth will be shut out for a few more years. Ask your friends whose sons and daughters received their MBA's or Law degrees this year how the job search is going. Be prepared to offer condolences, and sympathetic advice that things are getting better.

Continued increases in unemployment.

No sense in belaboring the point. Just read the government reports yourself. (no media filtering)

Most indicative: The bankers are blaming consumers for not consuming enough as they blame them for consuming too much before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Solution: Borrow from the local loan shark, the rates will be better than the banks soon, and the transactions support your local economy, and yes, its not likely that you will get that far behind on your payments that your default will bring down the global economy.

No comments:

Post a Comment