Economic slowdown in America has a silver lining

The slowing U.S. economy is altering workers' and consumers' behaviour – and doing so in ways that carry certain advantages.

  • Estate agents report that homes are becoming more affordable – and bidding wars, such as those that made news in California's Silicon Valley in 1999 and 2000, are dying out.

  • Recruiting and retaining talented employees is becoming easier for companies as workers reconsider pay and perk demands – and think twice before jumping to new jobs.

  • Buying a new car or truck is less expensive as dealers pile on incentives to combat a four-month sales slump.

  • Colleges and universities report receiving 10 percent to 40 percent more enrolment applications as laid-off employees return to classrooms and ride out the downturn by developing new skills.

    Observers report that other changes include greater availability of hotel rooms, along with a slight drop in rates in some cities. Fine restaurants are no longer booked solid and diners do not have to endure the long waits for tables they experienced in the recent past.

    Even previously backlogged contractors are finally scheduling renovation jobs for homeowners who couldn't get their phone calls returned just a few months ago.

    Sources: Kevin McCoy, Let the Bad Economic Times Roll, Some Say, and Stephanie Armour, Slowing Economy Sends Workers Back to School, both in USA Today, February 27, 2001.

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