Originally Published: November 24, 2011 10 p.m.
Black Friday's dilemma, ca. 2011: to spend and aid coffers, or to curtail spending and save? The annual intersection of conflicted fiduciary philosophies returns to burst our stuffed bellies the day after Thanksgiving.
What we know is that economic indicators from national, state and local reports show that our economy - the U.S. economy, left for dead by some - is clearly in the recovery stage, despite dysfunctional politicians' best efforts to thwart any progress for their own misguided campaign gains (see: Debt Super Committee fails to reach deal).
Nationally, real GDP grew 2.5 percent in the third quarter, which was in line with overall expectations and a significant improvement from the first half of the year. The Labor Department said this month that 80,000 jobs were created in October, and the jobless rate fell to 9.0 percent, as it closes in on dipping below 9 for the first time since March. And last year's Black Friday raked in $45 million for retailers nationwide with more than 212 million shoppers hitting stores; figures the National Retail Federation is predicting will increase today.
On the state level, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee reported this week that Arizona brought in significantly more tax revenue in October than was forecast in its budget. Strong individual income tax collections drove revenue to rise for a 15th consecutive month.
Locally, we reported this month that the City of Prescott has gained ground on its sales tax revenues with continued positive showings in taxable sales and retail sales.
Hey, we're not diminishing the growth yet ahead. We're likely years away from reaching pre-recession revenue levels. And economic indicators and statistical factors mean little to the unemployed or recently graduated looking for work.
And there's certainly a lesson, even in the positive fiscal indicators. While personal income rose nationally 0.1 percent in September, personal spending grew by 0.6 percent. Increasing spending while incomes don't keep the same pace? Where have we heard that before?
Black Fridays have taken on a more cautious need vs. want strategy for consumers. And if you're into getting the best available deals out there, by the time you're reading this you're probably already 12 hours behind the crowds.
Most of all, if you do shop today, shop local. You really will benefit in the end.