Houstonians mixed on economic outlook

August 5, 2011 4:51:38 PM PDT
Economic worries are all across the board after Thursday's free fall on the stock market. And the recent losses have some worried about their financial futures.

Analysts are telling people to stay calm and some Houstonians are heeding that advice. Friday's new jobs report is providing some encouraging economic news.

The new numbers are out and they show some modest growth. The Labor Department released its latest jobs report and it's easing some fears of a double-dip recession.

The Labor Department says employers added 117,000 jobs in July. That's higher than analysts expected. So the unemployment rate nationwide is at 9.1 percent, which is down from the 9.2 percent in June. And, we're getting a look at the growth of the economy. It grew at 0.8 percent since the start of the year.

However, it is mixed news that has people all over Houston talking about the economy and where we are exactly.

Waiting for a bus and reading his Bible, we met Tony Fields -- a man who says the economy, as far as he's concerned, is good.

"Paying all of my bills. Paying my rent. So things are good for me. Have a job and everything. Go to church every Sunday. So nothing's wrong with me," Fields said.

Nothing's wrong with Jack Wright's business either. But he knows when he's doing this well it can only mean one thing for most others.

"It means that the economy stinks. And it really smells now," said Wright, who owns Wright's Pawn and Jewelry.

His pawn and jewelry store has been busy.

"I don't think the economy is getting better. I've seen people of a different class. People who've never been to a pawn shop before. Seeing them in here with their head down saying, 'I never thought I'd have to come to a pawn shop,'" Wright told us.

Wright says he thinks it'll be a while before we're back on track, but he's hopeful. As are Richard Alvarado and Neil Bland. Though they still have their doubts.

"Hope springs eternal. Hope springs eternal. I think we can do a heck of a lot better. I hope Congress comes to its senses," said Alvarado, who was playing tennis.

When we asked him whether the economy or his backhand is better, he laughed and replied, "Either hand is better than the economy right now."

Bland told us, "I just feel like we're headed in the inevitable direction. Our country is bankrupt and we'll soon be insolvent, unless we can turn things around."

The economy is personal. A recession for one is a depression for another. Or as Tony Fields would tell you -- everything eventually does turns around.

"Tell them to keep their head up, hold on and stay strong," Fields said.

Despite the relatively encouraging economic news Friday, leading economists still suggest the risk of a double-dip recession hovers between 30 and 50 percent.

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