Here is an epiphany for those still clamoring to stimulate consumer spending: people who are over-extended on credit and under-employed, or unemployed, do not do a lot of shopping.
America's job market stats provide the catalyst for a secular shift down in retail sales:
— Over 8 million jobs have been lost since the recession “officially” began in December 2007.
— 14.6 million Americans are out of work. It will take several years to replace the jobs that are now missing.
— 6.6 million Americans have been out of work six months or longer.
— The “real” unemployment rate is 16.5%.
— 26% of American workers are “under-employed”.
This behavioral change comes just as the world is awash in mini-malls and endless supply of retail realty space. Look around your neighbourhood at all the “For lease” signs that are cropping up. And still there are many new retail projects still underway that will bring even more redundant space to market. Gifts from the credit bubble… Developers should take note and start figuring out useful things to do with these properties. How about urban gardens and retraining centers.