Monday, October 17, 2011

Noticed: ratio of for sale vs help wanted ads

This morning I am adding a tiny inexact comparison to the list of ways I guage the health of the local economy.

It's a measure that may or may not be invalid in these internet days. Perhaps it's a measure that says more about the future of newspapers than the future of employment. In your local paper take a look at the want ads in yesterdays paper, the Sunday paper which traditionally has the larges want ads section of the week. Look at the section labeled For Sale.   Then flip over to the section for Help Wanted.  One seems significantly larger than the other.

Let me make a sweeping surmise:  Because the one is so slender, the other has increased. People without jobs or if they have jobs, without raises,  people who can't move on to a job or a better job, want to raise cash by selling things. Cars, houses, stuff. If you charted the ratio from 2007 to the present - I wonder what the arc would look like......

Now that's the economic explanation. There might be another way of looking at this. Perhaps as the baby boomer generation are retiring or getting cash strapped through job loss, they are trying to selling things to downsize their bills, downsize their debt.

Demographics or economics.  Who knows. Maybe a little of both. Might be a third or forth way of looking at it, or a fifth or sixth.  Conjectures at least, are free.