Review: Hard Times: How the economic slowdown has changed consumer spending

The Economist

Review by: Maureen Atkinson

the economistIn a short, easy-to-read article titled - Hard Times - How the economic slowdown has changed consumer spending in America, The Economist has captured a lot of data and made it understandable. The data is based on releases from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which can be considered the gold standard in terms of data assurance.

The article notes that between 2007 and 2010, there were some remarkable shifts in consumer expenditure. Spending on apparel and eating out declined, while the amount spent on healthcare and fuel increased. Not shocking revelations but the extent to which the spending of Americans has been affected by the financial downturn is interesting reading. The challenge of economists is whether these are permanent shifts or whether spending will return to previous levels.

This information is very relevant for downtown managers as they struggle to understand why certain businesses are challenged while others are doing well. While this data alone will not present the answers of what to do in the future it is good background information to have.

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