Is there hope for the US Economy?

There are a number of differing opinions on the state of the US economy, both in relation to where it is today and what is going to happen in the months and years ahead. Some feel recovery is advancing at a brisk pace while others are less optimistic. Part of the problem has to do with what is meant by recovery. When we talk of getting past the recession, do we mean rolling things back to the way prior to 2007? Or do we mean implementing what was learned during the recession and moving forward from there?

The Idea of Recovery

Is there hope for the US Economy?
If the idea of a full recovery rests on the economy becoming a mirror image of the first few years of the 21st century, chances are we will all be disappointed. Just as the Great Depression led to some changes in the way people think about money and what type of laws are enacted to control the economy, the recession has made a difference in the way people think. Changes in the real estate industry and the government support of that industry mean that mortgage loans are not likely to be that easy to obtain, at least for quite a few years. Employers are likely to be more conservative with expansion projects, especially if they are not comfortable with the current condition of the economy. In short, things will never be exactly the same again.

For people who see economic recovery as a task that involves mining the entire recession experience and applying lessons learned to forging a new and better economy, there is a bit more optimism. Like our forebears who made it through the Depression, many of us have learned we can get by with a lot less than we thought. Others have learned how important it is to create savings for use when times get rough, even if the best we can do is add a few dollars to a savings account every month. Still others have redefined how they use what they already have, learning how to recycle and repurpose items rather than simply replacing them.

There are signs of recovery to be found

Unemployment across the nation continues to incrementally decrease. In January 2012, the national figure reached a level of 8.3%, the lowest figure since 2009. Some companies have begun to recall employees who were laid off, and trim expenses by outsourcing functions to different partners, including online payroll service and support professionals. Communities that saw older businesses go under during the recession are slowly attracting new companies that offer employment opportunities not available in the past. Here and there, we can see indications that the nation is moving forward, albeit not necessarily at the pace many would like.

One key element of helping the economy to keep moving forward is to run your household as if the recession were still going on. That means refraining from taking on a lot of unnecessary debt. When you use your credit cards, pay them off when the statements arrive. Keep looking for bargains at the supermarket and refrain from falling back into old habits that left no money in the checking account at the end of the month. Even if you don’t have much left over, divert that small amount into some sort of savings account and don’t touch the balance unless absolutely necessary. As the personal financial stability of each citizen begins to improve, our economy will be a few steps closer to being on sound financial footing, something we all crave.

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