A Strange Economy


It's been nearly ten years since the great recession and while some people think another bubble burst is on the way others say our current economy is just plain weird.

Economists say that an economy in the wake of a recession usually bounces back. But since 2009's official recovery America has been slow to do that. Instead analysts tell MSN Money the economy is acting strange and there are ten very specific reasons why.  read more »

The Consumer's Attitude


Despite the upturn in the economy, people are still cutting back and certain retailers are feeling the pinch.

When it comes to spending money on non-essential items such as clothes, jewelry and accessories most people are still looking for a good deal. As a result stores such as Ross and Marshalls are performing well. High end retailers such as Tiffany and Nordstrom are seeing a decline.  read more »

Wall Street and Vegas


Wall Street may be moving to Las Vegas, at least in spirit.

If you are invested in stocks and watching the markets you may be getting whip lash. One day up triple digits and next day down the same. Not for the faint of heart. And if you're watching financial news networks for guidance forget it.

One day pundits say Apple and Facebook are screaming buys. Next day they should sell. One day China's economy is crashing, next day comes a ray of hope. Global selloffs followed by global bounce backs. And it seems all those pundits pontificating with sage advice have poor memories, because they never seem to correct their mistakes on the air. Every day is a new opportunity to help you make or lose your money with no accountability.  read more »

Part Time Workers


The job market is improving; but not everyone filling out a timesheet is sticking around for the long haul.

In the 1980's contract workers made up less than 1% of the American job force. Today that number has grown to 2.3% and economists expect that to grow. These days’ casual employees can be found in almost every sector. From janitors to computer programmers to security guards more people are working under short term contracts with specific deadlines.

And while that means more people are employed it's not exactly a gold star for the economy. Contract workers have less job security than their full time counter parts. They don't spend as much money and they don't have the same job protection.  read more »

Financial Fears


It's been five years since the economy began its downward spiral; but some people aren't so quick to forget.

Since the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers families across the world live in fear of a relapse. So they're hoarding money selling assets all in an effort to pad their nest egg. Problem is; the more people protect themselves the more they endanger the global economy.

An Associated Press analysis of households in the ten biggest economies show that families have pulled hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks, stopped borrowing and are investing money into savings and bonds. Things with interest rates too low to keep up with inflation.  read more »

Cutting Back


Cash strapped Greece is cutting back… on job perks.

After being bailed out twice by the Euro Zone and the International Monetary Fund Greece is looking to save some cash. And it’s coming out of the pocket of the private sector. The latest change includes scraping a bonus workers have enjoyed for more than two decades; six extra days of paid vacation every year just for using a computer. That idea went into effect in June of 1989 to reward people who had to sit in front of a screen for more than five hours a day. The country’s administrative reform minister says that idea is outdated.  read more »

Broadcast Bounceback


Been watching network news lately? If so you may notice the economy is coming back.

Back during the height of the last recession I was shocked to see evening news programs on major networks filled with infomercials. You know. The ads you love to hate, but once only saw on cable late at night.

You pick up the phone after the sales pitch, call the 800 number flashed on the screen and order an exercise bike now parked in your garage. Or maybe use an attorney to sue after a car accident. No high prices ads for fancy cars or trips to Europe were airing. Car companies, airlines and retailers who were the bread and butter of network revenues were slashing marketing budgets and big ad campaigns. Some infomercial producers cut deals with networks for revenue sharing.  read more »

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Vanishing Companies


The economy might be on the rise; but some companies are still on their way down.

Each year the editors at 24/7 Wall Street identify the American brands most likely to disappear within the next year. The website bases its predictions on a series of seven criteria. This includes a rapid decline in sales, companies that are sold or go into bankruptcy and companies that have lost most of their customers. Every company on their list have fallen victim to one or more of the seven deadly factors. And the current list includes an airline, a television network and some well-known retailers.  read more »

Congressional Distractions


It’s a scandalous time for Capitol Hill and one company is hoping to cash in.

Florida based Spirit airlines has taken the recent GSA spending and secret service sex scandals and turned them into a marketing opportunity. Right now they are offering a GSA sale with fares starting from just $19.80 one way. Spirit says in the case of their campaign GSA stands for “great savings always.” It is also offering cheap flights to Colombia; the sight of an alleged tryst between secret service agents and a prostitute. Spirit says upfront payment for this trip is required.

But not everyone is laughing; I recently spoke with Congressman George Miller about the congressional distractions.  read more »

Depressing Details


All the depressing details from the 1930’s are now being released.

On April 2nd the U.S. government will disclose the census which contains intimate details from 132 million people who lived through the great depression. This will be the first time the information will be made public thanks to 72 years of privacy protection. Access to the records will be free and available online.

Historians say this information will give people more clues about what happened to members of their family. It will also follow the movement of refugees from Europe and detail where Japanese Americans were living before they were sent to camps during World War two. Historians say the census will be the best contribution to American society and history in over a decade.  read more »