Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Bad Economic News

I have been attempting to refrain from reading stories about our failing economy. I look at the headlines and that is as far as I go. I’ve been doing fairly well in just sticking with reading the sport page, the comics and doing the puzzles.

Now I am being attacked on another front; my email. Last week I received 3 emails (plus their follow up RE: messages) concerning the economic downturn.

The first came from a friend that lives in the Washington D.C. area. It consisted of several links to news articles about our economy. I thanked him and replied “Just what I needed to read”. I’m sure that he detected my sarcasm.

The second was from an old Army buddy that resides in Florida. It was about foreclosures and that they are up 121% (more than double) from a year ago. He did a bit research and found that Lee County (Fort Myers – Cape Coral) led the pack in Florida foreclosures with one out of 79 properties going into foreclosure during the past year. His source was RealtyTrac.com.

I did a little research of my own and found that there were more than 150 properties in the greater Fort Myers area for sale between $75, 000 and $100,000. Many of them were short sale (read about Short Sales here) properties subject to the lenders approval. There were also many pending foreclosures that will hopefully be avoided if President Bush signs the Housing bill passed by the House and Senate earlier this week.

Last, but not lease, was an email from a former co-worker. It concerned restaurant closings in Florida, particularly in the Tampa Bay area. We had been talking about this subject, on the phone, just three weeks ago when he told me that business was substantially down at my former place of employment. In 2000 we had more sales on Friday and Saturday nights alone than it now does for the entire week.

Many small restaurant businesses that have been marginal for the past few years are closing. Plus, now some of the chains are closing down their less profitable units. More unemployment for people that work in the service industry is on the horizon.

As I have said in the past, the hospitality industry contributes more to the economy than it is given credit. This is bad news for all of us.

The Beach Bum

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