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Opinions Wanted The economy

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by JRB, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    The white house is claiming their handling of the economic crises was the right path to take, and the economy is now showing definite signs of improvement.

    For my own part here in San Diego, I see no indication whatsoever that the economy is improving. I would go as far as to suggest that it is actually getting much worse.

    People are continuing to lose their jobs, more and more homes are going into foreclosure.

    The city water department did approve a 25% raise for all it's executives and employees last week though. I guess for government employees, things are getting much better.

    What do you guys think?

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  2. Grey Owl

    Grey Owl SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Some areas are better, some are worse.

    My business is down, and part of is the economy and part of it is probably me.

    I was calling some other framers about our Mountain and Plains Chapter PPFA meeting on October 25, and most say business is soft because of the economy, but most say they believe there are signs we are at the bottom.

    However, one framer in northern Colorado mentioned she was swamped. [I'm going to talk to her at our meeting to see what she is doing right!]

    Janet and I went to lunch today - Mexican food - and they were swamped. I asked if it was because the economy was improving, and they replied - no it's Friday.

    go figure::nuts:
  3. evartpat

    evartpat PFG, Picture Framing God

    The one thing I have noticed in the last month is that in four new home developments that I pass frequently, they are all suddenly going to town on the constuction. This is after stopping all work for the last 6months...:shrug:
  4. Thedra

    Thedra CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I think that every day of every year people are going to lose jobs, I think that every day of every year people are going to lose their house to foreclosure.

    I also think that even during the depression, people were growing their businesses, starting businesses, and becoming well to do. We need to start to realize that every person cannot do every job and not all people that want to run a business are competent buisiness people.

    Do not be effected by the news, position Your business for Your area and you will succeed!!!

  5. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Things seem to be improving here, and my month so far has been outstanding. My numbers for the year are flat with last year, maybe even a little up. I'll take it.

    So last night I went to get my hair cut. There's a somewhat new restaurant, maybe a year old or so, across the street from the salon. The restaurant is expensive, with dinner entrees in the $25 to $40 range, most of them $30 or more. Out front last night in the valet parking spots were two Bentleys and a Ferrari. Every time I get my haircut, it's like that. Across the street is a more modest neighborhood restaurant that has always gotten good reviews. I peeked in the window as I walked by, and it was empty. Not a single table was occupied.
  6. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    There is another round on the way. Lots of bogus news about how we are at the bottom and things are leveling off.

    The truth is that things are not diving as fast as they did for a while but round two will be worse. The next round of forclosures will be much worse than subprime. This round has already begun with the resetting of Option Arm Mortgage rates.

    These mortgages are the high end homes of $300,000 to well over $2 million. The national average loan amount in this group is $300,000 with the initial payment not even covering the interest owed. That $300k loan payment started at a national average of $600 per month. The bulk of these loans have just reset with the new minimum payment being $2,900. That occurs in one month. These laons were used to speculate by flippers who have been renting out these houses for less than $1,000 per month.

    Many investors own multiple homes and will just send the keys back to the lenders. The initial forclosure filings will begin in bulk in January. Only a small percentage of these homes qualify for any programs that could save the home because they are not owner occupied primary residences. Down payments on this group was typically 5% and the homes have lost about 40% of their value. The only way to save one of these is to bring about 60% of the original house price to the table which will never happen.

    These loans were used early on in California, Florida and Nevada just to name a few. This is why these states have much higher forclosure rates since they started resetting earlier. Prime loans are currently experiencing about 30% delinquency rates. Housing will lose another 30% in value in the next 3 years.

    These numbers are manipulated to blow smoke up your skirts. An example of this would be the most recent reports that values are stabilizing but the truth is that they are still dropping like a stone. They tell you that housing only lost X% of value in the latest report but that is compared to last month and not last year.

    The massive flood of high end housing about to hit the auction block will drive the prices of modest homes so low that it will be like buying in the 70's as far as prices. The increase in sales activity is due to the fact that nearly half the homes sold are forclosures so more houses are selling but for 30 or 40 cents on the dollar. The tax credit has artificially propped up the market but that will end soon.

    This is exactly why these gov't bailouts don't work. They just prolong the agaony. Same is true for the auto industry.
  7. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Business has been up here John. Maybe it is just slowly working its way west! I must apologize to you, I just sold three paintings to a SD CA area couple. But maybe they'll bring the recovery to you when they go home ;) They paintings were gallery wraps, so maybe they'll be in to get them framed.
  8. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree with you John.... there is a lot of more pain to come.

    I am in the land of the dinosaurs:

  9. Bill Henry-

    Bill Henry- SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Some economists are calling this a jobless recovery – whatever that means. An awful lot of people are out of work, yet the stock and bond markets are rebounding. I don’t understand that at all.

    So if people didn’t bail out of their mutual funds when things were at their lowest, there is still some hope for pensioners and retirees. But, with joblessness hovering around 10%, too many people are hurting and the rest of us still worried.

    We have been slower than usual for over a year. We have seen no real signs of recovery.

    Republicans are chiding the Democrats for “allowing” the unemployment to continue to rise citing that the stimulus package hasn’t worked. The Democrats are stating that without this package, things would be a lot worse. Nobody has any figures to confirm or deny any of these claims.
  10. Pat Kotnour

    Pat Kotnour SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Everyday I get calls now from shops saying they are swamped, and that all of a sudden it was like the dam broke. Whether it is over?.....I don't know, but there are signs that things are looking up.

    Two different people that I know in the realty business said that they just had the best month they have had since 2002. Our 401K has also rebounded nicely and so has the stock market in general. That has got to be a good sign. All we can do now is hope for the best.
  11. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Business is very up, thank you.

    Customers are spending more (high ticket items too). In the first week of September framing orders were higher than the whole month of August.

    Restaurants are as full as always in many large cities I have been to the last couple of months.

    Stock market is up over 30% the last 8 months.

    Defeatist attitudes and pessimism won't make anything better.
  12. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God


    If I was a pessimist I would have folded my tent and went home years ago.
  13. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    You're imagining things again Jerry.....:p
  14. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    That edit feature is great isn't it?
  15. JbNormandog

    JbNormandog SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I jumped into the market for the first time after it dipped to 6000. So far I am making a killing. Never traded before and read some articles at the motley fool and msnbc, opened an etrade account and took the plunge.

    Framing has been showing signs of life again. Took my first Christmas order wednesday and selling gift stuff again.

    So far so good.

  16. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    it's a tough call...some business is up, others are worse than ever...there are still layoffs (100's) in the area and more foreclosures than last couple of months, but our Aug and Sep are up considerably from last year.

    The Tampa Trib article I read this am clasims 143,000 business closures so far this year and projects 140,000 next year and 130,000 in 2010....with mall and strip center vacancies up to 30% by 2010.

    We remain optomistic for our business and my wife is doing her own version of an economic recovery by purchasing a new car, remodeling ( again) our house, and we just purchased( started building) a 2nd home in Sarasota thinking the time is right ( bottom of the market?) to buy...this home is in a upscale community and homes there were selling for 500,000 2 years ago..we are building the same one for 249,000..and there are some 1-2 yr old models on the market for 250-275,000 range ( most are upside down in the mortgage)and there are 22 new construction homes under contract in this community alone..so how do read this economy????...I think we should all stay upbeat and optomistic...that is the best thing we can do for our country, other than voting out the idiots in the next election.
  17. RParrish

    RParrish PFG, Picture Framing God

    California has it's own problems on top of the global meltdown.
  18. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

  19. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    We did vote out the idiots.

    And you're doing better now than last year. Do you miss last year's idiots and the slower business as well?
  20. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I can't compare to last year, as I wasn't in business just yet...

    On the other hand, I survived this first year and I do manage to pay myself a small salary, which is more than I expected at this point.

    We bought a bigger house. We sold our old house without any problems.
    We can still pay our bills and then some.

    We have always been very careful with our money and our expenses. Business has been quite good the past few months and September started off real well.

    Restaurants are busy, mall is crowded, contractors are booked for a few weeks. We'll see.
  21. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Remember Alan Greenspan's warnings about "irrational exhuberence" during the tech bubble? Irrational exhuberence is the feeling that the gravy train will never stop, everything's just going to keep going up-up-up with no end in sight.

    Well, the opposite of that is something I call "irrational despair". This is the feeling that not only is the gravy train dead but it's rusted to the tracks, everything's just going to keep going down with no bottom in sight, prepare for the apocalypse, etc.

    The truth lies somewhere in between...
  22. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    What's the saying again?

    'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is'

    Why not; ' If it sounds too bad to be true, it probably is'? (or should it be 'isn't', oooooh, I'm all confused now)

    Well, what I am trying to say is basically the same as Jim. We are somewhere in between the good and the bad.
  23. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Excellent news, thanks Jerry! Look everyone Jerry says that Obama is already undoing a lot of the damage that 8 years of GWB wreaked on our country.

    Let's hope he can return our world image to pre-GWB days as well. Before you say who cares what the world thinks about USofA remember that they buy from us, or at least they used to. I don't buy from shops I don't like or respect, and i would assume the world market doesn't either.

    1 thing I am noticing, the liberals are saying the economy in their area is getting better, the righties are saying its down. Either Obama is channeling money to the states that voted for him, or the left leaning customers are back out of hiding and spending in the lefty shops! Jerry as an experiment maybe you could burn some sage in your shop and spritz the outside with patchouli. Like the tramp signs of the 1920's us liberal lefties use patchouli as a sign that the shop owner is a lefty. Of course you'll need to add signs that say "slave shop-free moulding" and "Eco sensitive mats" but you're selling to lefties, we'll believe the signs because we want to believe them.... ;) I mean how can using bleach in the paper process, creating dioxins, really be eco sensitive ;)
  24. Jay H

    Jay H PFG, Picture Framing God

    Announced last week a big Whirlpool plant about 20 minutes from my house is packing up and movin to Mexico in about 6 months. So around Christmas time we will be tossing an extra 1100 workers on to the unemployment figures.

    I don't think the economy is growing at all.

    I believe on the best indicators of the economy is in construction. Big plants, schools, and hospitals look a year or two or more into the future. If they expect growth in a year or so, they have to start building now to be ready. Nobody is building. My good friend was an electrical estimator in Atlanta (I'm not sure, Bob, if Atlanta is liberal or not). They bid only large projects. He said about a year ago he started going to bid meetings expecting to see 3 or 4 contractors there but finding 30+. Many of those contractors are just barely big enough to do the work and are bidding these jobs at cost to keep the company alive. A few weeks ago they laid him off. There were once 5 estimators working with him and now there is 1.

    Just today I was dropping my son off for a weekend outing at church. Another estimator friend of mine told me that a typical month for him he is overseeing at least 4 or 5 jobs and bidding on 4 or 5. He said last month he was wrapping up 1 job and had 0 bids out. Right now he is voluntarily taking days off. I suspect that is better than involuntarily losing your job.

    As for my business, I'm down right at 50% from last year. I was heading into 4th quarter last year up almost 70% and finished the year dead flat. So fourth quater was a complete bust and the business hasn't returned. Maybe if I was a liberal, business would be better (what a silly concept).

    The economy is not getting better. There is no growth on the horizon. Look for construction to take off when there is hope on the horizon.
  25. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    The thing about a recession is that it's severity depends upon your mind set. When the American public begins to believe things are better, they will be better. So much of our economy is based on psycholigical factors. There have always been recessions just like there have always been good times. I think the thing that has made this one more severe is the huge slant put on things by the media. Had this been 10 years ago when you had to wait until the paper came out for your news, a lot of this wouldn't have even made the news.

    I believe we've seen the bottom, but it's not going to be a fast climb back out to the top. But I think by this time next year this will all be a bad memory.
  26. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    One more thought....If you're looking for signs of in improving economy...look at the firms who supply temporary workers to business. When they're doing well, you know business is needing workers and it won't be long before those temporary workers turn into permanet employees of some firm.
  27. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jay if your numbers are correct then you are down 50% from a year that was 70% up from the year before. So you are up 20% from 2 years ago. Not great, but not as doom and gloom as you portray.

    Still sucks when you look at the numbers and the bank account, knowing what they both could be, but better than what is being implied.

    So GE is outsourcing to cheap labor. What a surprise. GM, Ford, et al did that during GWB's and Clinton's and GWHB's years. I'm sorry for you as it is a terrible thing, but it isn't necessarily related to Obama. It's what they do when they can get cheaper labor. The thing to fight is outsourcing, not the admin. (Well except when it happened during GWB's reign, then it was his fault, but not during a Democratic era. Then it's only bad timing and the economy of labor ;) )
  28. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Banks are failing at record numbers because the commercial loans to builders and developers are all tanking. I estimated that 100 banks would fail this year in Jan and it will be closer to 200 (search the archive and you'll see my predictions). The pros are selling stocks right now which will run the market down 2000 points before the year ends.

    In the beginning of 2007 when I warned of all of this before any pros did I was called Chicken Little but it all came true.

    Enjoy the spike in business but proceed cautiously.
  29. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Our electrician is hiring people back that he had to fire a few months ago. There is positive news as well out there.
  30. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Sounds like it's still mixed. I'll be happier when everyone has a good story to tell. I've heard that employment gains always lag behind the rest of the recovery, although I can't recall why that is so. I don't pay any attention to the stock market, it just seems like pure speculation to me. People buy a stock because it ticks up, not because there is something about the company that stills confidence in them.

    I've made a bunch of changes in how I buy, how I price things, the mouldings I stock, and the mouldings I show, and I hope those changes will position me well over the next few months. I will be very happy if the next few months are strong, but I honestly couldn't care less about December, and I'm not going to stock a single extra mat or photo frame for Christmas this year. In the 3 1/2 years I've been open, December has never been my best month.
  31. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    I was referring to the local and state idiots here in Florida....should have been more clear in my post..
  32. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Paul, if you have an idiot in office, no matter the party they need to go. If the person in office is any good, and the alternative running against is useless then you vote to keep the known good, instead of going with the unknown bad. Regardless of party.

    But it is telling that the GOP is full of losers and that the Democratic Party is rife with great offerings! So vote out the riff-raff. Again, like we did in 2008. ;)
  33. mayos

    mayos MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Employment HAS to lag behind recovery because companies aren't going to hire anyone back until they have the demand for more goods/services than they can produce with the workforce they currently have. That's why one of the bigs areas to watch are the companies who provide temporary workers to business. A lot of businesses will hire temps at the beginning when they're not sure if the demand will be sustained. When they're more convinced demand for their goods/services will continue THEN they'll start hiring permanent workers. So the firms who supply temps such as Manpower will see the uptick first on the employment side of things. Which is a good thing because then all those people who've lost jobs can go to work for the temp agencys and eventually find permanent jobs.
  34. jim_p

    jim_p SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    One thing I've noticed in the current polarized climate is an overwhelming tendency to give "your guy" the benefit of the doubt while being convinced that "the other guy" is up to absolutely no good.

    My employee and I, though good friends, are on opposite ends of the political spectrum (I'm left, she's right). She sees nothing but dark designs in Obama's proposals. On the other hand when she defends GWB by saying "He did some really good things, like his work on AIDS in Africa", I find myself thinking "Yeah, I bet there's a no-bid Halliburton contract involved in there somewhere..."

    I guess on average my shop is politically center... a couple lefty touches (e.g. feng shui elements) but hold the patchouli :)
  35. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

  36. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Watch the foriegn markets crash and burn here. The ones in red have opened and the ones in green are showing closing prices from Friday. The white clock symbol next to the market name are the ones that have opened and the gray ones have not opened yet.

  37. JRB

    JRB PFG, Picture Framing God

    The **** will hit the fan when the Chinese Communists decide they do not want American dollars any more. It's shaky now, gold is up to over a thousand U.S. dollars for one troy ounce, unbelievable. People are buying foreign currencies that they would have laughed at just a few months ago. Even the Peso is starting to look good.

    Should the Chinese decide to start dumping dollars, expect gold to head toward two to three thousand dollars an ounce, perhaps much higher. This would explain why people are willing to pay one thousand dollars an ounce right now.

  38. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Not nearly as idiotic as the leaders in Pennsylvania. We're still without a budget 75+ days into the new fiscal year. State workers missed a few paychecks in July until they finally agreed to pay them. Services are shutting down right and left. The governor and his cronies in the legislature are cooking up their own depression in the state economy.

    On the thread topic however, our business is way, way up since August. My only difference was that I am now open evenings. But whatever the reason, we'll take the extra work!
  39. Randall C Colvin

    Randall C Colvin CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    One thing I've noticed is that in spite of the economic conditions and the fact that the state is whining about "revenue shortfalls", every little podunk town around here(and there are a lot of those in KY) seems to be getting a new "judicial center" (we used to call'em courthouses) and new schools. We now have four schools in this county of about 12,000 people - one just finished - and new additions in progress. Seems the only people who really have to worry about making ends meet are the taxpayers not the tax spenders.
  40. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Yeah, we really don't need new or refurbished schools. Education isn't important, our kids can always do manual labor (except all those jobs are in China and Mexico now). As for courthouses and prisons, we really don't need them either. We can just levy a fine on the rapists, murderers and drug dealers and put them right back out on the street. That way, we save a lot of money on housing and feeding them. And think of all the money we save by not having to pay our manual-labor-performing stupid kids to build these new schools and judicial centers. They can just collect their 6 weeks of unemployment before resorting to drug-dealing and robbing old ladies.
  41. Pat Murphey

    Pat Murphey SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Geez! Paul, he said new schools and courthouses. What is the point of that sarcasm? :nuts:
  42. Jerry Ervin

    Jerry Ervin PFG, Picture Framing God

    The county I live in just built 4 new schools.

    They were $35 Mil each.

    They have marble entrance ways.

    I guess a $30 Mil job just wouldn't do it.

    At the same time they are building a new county jail. It has surpassed $135 Mil

    The new Embassy Suites hotel that was just built was less than $30 Mil. It is the center atrium design with the glass elevators.

    Somebody screwed up somewhere.

    My property taxes have double what they were 4 years ago.

    (I guess that makes me a racist)
  43. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Jerry, the first step is admitting you have a problem. We are very proud of you for that.:D
  44. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I hate it when I agree with Jerry. ;)

    The Va Beach City Council wants to build a light rail system for hundreds of millions of dollars , that the citizens voted against in a public referendum.
    To make matters worse, they want to raise our property taxes to pay for it.
  45. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    If the light rail takes thousands of cars off the road every day, meaning less car exhaust fumes and less dependence on foreign oil, while giving people in your community an affordable way to get to and from work without driving, isn't that a good thing? I mean, you can pay less in property taxes and pay more for gas, or you can pay more in property taxes and pay less for gas.

    I drive 300+ miles a week to and from work, spending about $30/week on gas, plus auto insurance and my car payment (those combine for about $500+ per month). If there was a light rail that could get me to and from work each day at a fraction of the cost, and with convenience, I'd jump at it. I'd sell my car in a heartbeat.
  46. surferbill

    surferbill SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The problem is the City Council has lost all credibility with the citizens.
    Hardly anyone believes that light rail will work in Va. Beach, except the people that will make money off of the project.

    During the real estate boom our property taxes doubled and tripled and they spent money like sailors on liberty fresh off the ship.
    Now that the gravy train of artificially inflated property taxes are eroding, they want to RAISE property taxes so they can keep spending money on pet projects and boondoggles. IMO
  47. Randall C Colvin

    Randall C Colvin CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Gee Paul, guess I lit your fuse - sorry 'bout that - I guess. Maybe I should clarify. While I admit leaning to Libertarian political ideas, I'm not opposed to government entities that serve well and give the taxpayer a fair shake for the money but it seems to me we've reached the point of fanaticism as defined by George Santyana - that is "redoubling your efforts after having lost sight of your goal". IMO, we've gone overboard on "law enforcement" (curtailed rights) thus a "judicial center" on every corner and overboard on "education" so that we're churning out yet another generation social parasites who can't really read or write well but are content to be "drawers"(as in drawing a check - and I'm qouting school kids here) but thank God they have their self esteem.
  48. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The problem with that line of thinking is you won't be able to sell the car because the rail won't get you many places you need to go. You'll save $90 per month on the gas (passes tend to be in the $30 range) but pay $300 more per month in property taxes in many states. That is why these things don't get built. I grew up in a city with a Rapid Transit system and you needed a car to get to the Park & Ride lot and back home. They do ease traffic but not by any astounding amount. The transit system ran along 2 roads and in and out of downtown period.
  49. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Jeff, that's similar to the problem I face. My commute is about 40 minutes each way by car. There's a Caltrain station a short walk from my store, but to get to Caltrain in San Francisco, I've got a 40 minute tram ride. Then another 30-40 minutes on Caltrain. So it would double my commute time. But if it was more convenient, with a station near my home, I'd be all over it.
  50. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Paul, these rail systems depend on people using city buses as connections but many bus routes have been cut. Talk to people that live in NYC and they tend to walk extreme distances before and/or after the subway rides.

    I have talked to many that walked 15 city blocks and consider that normal. My store is closer to my home than that. A large number of people here have to walk miles to get to bus routes.

    Rail systems are so costly that they tend to be only straight line transportation into and out of downtown. They are great systems if you happen to work or live near the rail but only serve a small percentage at a huge cost to all.
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