The Stock Market seems to hit all-time highs every week, but stepping away from Wall Street, what’s happening on Main Street? Labor participation rates are still at 30 year lows, 92 million Americans are not in the labor force, and eerily similar to 2007-2008, retail stores and car dealerships are promoting holiday specials; completely jumping over Thanksgiving and getting straight to the holiday season. Why? Are retail sales that poor? Are they trying to get a leg up on Amazon and Ebay? Are they anticipating lower sales figures this season?
During a normal holiday season, Black Friday sales promotions are usually the first commercials you see, and speaking of Black Friday, some stores are opening up on Thanksgiving and extending sales specials through the entire week. This really has been unprecedented as this can’t merely be just about generating more profits, but trying to leverage a slower economy by getting consumers into stores with unbeatable sales specials.
Car commercials have always been pushed during November and December, but it’s a surprise to see brands such as Jeep coming out with a holiday commercial of their own. Mercedes Benz and Lexus are constantly pushing sales this time of year, so it’s no surprise to see multiple commercials from these companies any given day. Leasing has been on the rise as it’s a more affordable options for consumers. People are slowly moving away from buying new and looking at leasing options. Currently the percentage of Americans leasing has surged to 20% since the recession in 2008, and that will probably grow heading into next year.
Having witnessed what the recession did in 2008, I wouldn’t go as far to say that we’re now dipping back into some volatile times such as those. However, with the mix of holiday commercials already being pushed in almost every sector, Santa already showing up in malls, and decorations being displayed this early, it’s possible that we might be seeing the symptoms of a slowing economy.
While being part of the millennial generation, I’ve also lived through the height of the American economy when it was at it’s strongest. Those days do not compare to what’s happening now. Ten years ago the holidays were anticipated but it was usually after Thanksgiving all the commercials started popping up on the TV screen. History tends to repeat itself, and seeing that retail stores and malls are already promoting Christmas this early in the season such as 2008, this could be sign of where we’re heading after January 1st and into the first quarter of next year.