It seems as though every newscast is packed full of grumpy reports about the economy. It is no secret that the United States has been working its way through one of the worst economic times in over 50 years. National and consumer debt has gotten out of control and our major industries are wavering. Although many other countries are also joining in our struggle to maintain a grasp on the economy, many have feared the worst is yet to come. No one can know for sure what the future holds, but recent financial and economic experts have begun to point out a few signs that may suggest the economy is beginning to improve.
The greatest source of pressure we feel over these weak economic times is at the gas pump. What happened to the days of filling up your car for less than $20? These days, even the most fuel efficient car is looking at twice that cost just to fill up for the week. Despite lots of variability in the cost for gas, prices have been falling for nearly 2 months now. The price of gas is far from where it should be, any some may express a drop in commodity prices are indicative of a slowing, or stalling, economy. The important factor isn’t the gas prices, but the economic growth that results when consumers are freed up to pump more money back into the economy when these high cost necessities ease in price.
The housing market has not gone unscathed through these economic times. The number of foreclosures rose dramatically, lenders tightended their wallets and property values dropped at suprising rates. For an industry that plays such a crucial role in the economy, it is a bit suprising to see it bounce back relatively quickly. Recent analysis reports that the number of foreclosures has begin to drop; subsequently, affecting the property values. Certainly an increase in property values alongside the reduced number of foreclosures will play a key role in loosening up the lenders pursestrings. With new programs to assist consumers in becoming educated about the mortgage lending industry and regulations aimed at making the mortgage lending process easier, more consumers are becoming interested in purchasing a home. All of these factors together suggest the housing market has turned over a new leaf and has the capacity to impact the economy in a positive way.
It wasn’t very long ago we heard new reports about the failing auto industry. The government had to step in and provide a bailout to prevent the industry from collapsing. The automobile industry accounts for a large portion of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is a key measurement for the health of our economy. Vehicle production has begun to rebound, providing hopes of profits for the companies that now need to repay the government for the bailout. Although it is too early to expect a full recovery of the automobile industry, it is a small sign that we are headed in a different direction. Perhaps even more important, increased vehicle production may provide much jobs for so many. There has been some decrease in the unemployment rate, but the job market is one area that needs constant attention in efforts to strengthen the economy.