Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thriving businesses suggest sour economy is myth

Arizona Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ) - Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Author: RICHARD KELLEHER , The Republic

Recently I wrote that business leaders might be creating economic hard times from what they pick up through the media, whether it is real or not.

To me, it appears the media are trying to create a recession. Let's look at some stories since February from various media outlets, including The Arizona Republic.

"Many Believe U.S. Already in a Recession," from Yahoo. "Sixty-one percent of the public believes the economy is now suffering through its first recession since 2001," according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Another online headline shouted: "Auto dealers prepare for rough times." Reading the story led to something entirely different: "At Owen Ford in Jarratt, Va., owner Alton Owen Sr. said he is blessed to have a stable, older customer base that likes Ford's current product line. His sales were up 15 percent in January over the same month in 2007.

"Average dealer pre-tax profit, though, remained fairly strong through November, up 6.6 percent compared with the year-ago period."

The Republic ran this headline, "Valley home prices tumbling," but there is the good news from the story, too. "The best performers were Phoenix and the Northeast Valley area of Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale. Both regions fell about 1 percent from October 2006 to October 2007." I'll gladly lose 1 percent from my home value, which has risen 500 percent in 10 years.

Here's some other local bad economy news: "Ariz. bankruptcy rates rise 63 percent. The 967 statewide filings in January represented a 63 percent gain over January 2007, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the district of Arizona. Phoenix-area filings rose 78 percent to 708."

Also: "City cutting jobs. About 500 jobs are expected to be cut under the budget that City Council members are expected to approve next month, City Manager Frank Fairbanks said."

The story explained that is 5 percent of the city's workforce. The cuts are due to the state cutting shared revenue to cities due to an estimated $1 billion state deficit. The story doesn't mention that the state is posting at least 25 jobs a day, sometimes as many as 100, at, which is the application site for state jobs. While the city is cutting, the state is hiring. Some recession or budget crunch. All the state-funded higher education employment sites, like Arizona State University and Maricopa County Community College District, are posting jobs.

A Republic article stated business was off at downtown businesses during the Super Bowl, yet from the article these comments: "Scottsdale restaurateur Sam Fox uses a dramatically different description to sum up a week that saw sales surge 200 percent at his Olive & Ivy and Sauce restaurants at the Scottsdale Waterfront.

"At Kierland Commons, adjacent to the New England Patriots' headquarters hotel, the Fox restaurants North and Greenhouse set sales records last Saturday."

Scottsdale Fashion Square even benefited. Traffic at the mall was up 20 percent to 35 percent on the peak days leading up to the Super Bowl, helped in part by an NFL wives fashion show on Feb. 1. "Last Saturday alone, 14 helicopters landed on the mall's helipad to drop off shoppers." Heck, I didn't even know there were helicopter pads there.

"Another downtown institution, Majerle's Sports Bar and Grill, had a better week, with business up 25 percent to 30 percent and the tips lucrative, said manager Randy Lavender."

Here is an article from the middle of February: "Levi's 4Q profit more than doubles best year since 1996.

"The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday that it earned $267 million during its fiscal fourth quarter ended Nov. 25, up from $96 million at the same time in 2006."

Back in the 1980s, there was a restaurant chain's ad that became very popular, where a woman shouted, "Where's the beef?" I say the same thing to employers pulling jobs because of a bad economy.

Show me this bad economy. I don't see it.