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Canary in the Economic Coal Mine

Who’s feeling the economic slowdown?

Turn on the news or open the newspaper and you’re sure to run into a story about the economy — one that’s increasingly more about “Main Street” than Wall Street. In Oregon the tough times are being felt in many ways. People I’ve talked to have told stories of layoffs at architecture firms, decreased latte sales at coffee shops, and car dealerships not being able to get new cars off the lot. And then there was the report that people are saving money by skipping doctor’s appointments or not filling prescriptions.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland just announced that they expect their income to fall short of their 2008 budget by $750,000. But not to be the bearer of only bad news, there was a serious uptick in business license applications in Portland this month. And the Chinook Book — and similar coupon books — are doing great.

So what is the economic situation on “Main Street” or in your home? Is the daily coffee shop latte now a cup of home-dripped joe? Have you stopped going to museums, or shows? Have you cut back on veterinary or dentist visits? How is the economy directly affecting you right now? And what are the economic canaries you see in this coal mine?

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