My Economic Barometer

Empty Suit

Empty SuitEvery day seems to bring more dire economic news, but Barack Obama says the recession ended in June 2009.

Data tell us that our household net worth has dropped, one in seven in the U.S. are in poverty, the unemployment rate nears 10%, foreclosures continue to mount. Yesterday a woman at a town hall asked Obama if “the American dream dead for me?”

All of these are valid indicators, but I have my own barometer of the state of the U.S. economy. It doesn’t depend on any government indicators. It isn’t the stock market or the price of gold.

It’s Joseph A. Banks.

I started noticing in 2008 that the previously staid clothier began to offer deals. Business being down, it seemed they needed to encourage shoppers with buy one get one free type offers. A little bit odd for suit buying, but it must have worked because they upped the ante. I noticed it got to buy one get two free. This spring I noted a buy one get five items free. There’s a whiff of desperation in that one.

Since the “summer of recovery” hit, Joseph A. Banks’ deals didn’t stop. June, July and August saw a plethora of deals and increased frequency of their ads. Today advertises a buy one suit, get two free.

Do you think the economy is better? Joseph A. Banks apparently doesn’t.

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