Friday, April 17, 2009

Selfish Individuals Prey When Economy is Hurting

Our economy has not offered many indicators recently to offer hope that our country may be pulling out of its recession anytime soon. Unemployment figures continue to rise, with the most recent information from our government showing the unemployment rate in March moving up to 8.5%, which is a 0.4% increase just from the previous month. The stock market shows glimmers of improvement every now and again, but the numbers still are not at a level that gives investors much confidence. One area of our economy that has been hit particularly hard for the past couple of years is the housing and building industry. Every segment of this piece of our economy, from new home construction to business remodeling to the purchase of existing of existing homes, is struggling. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I have spent some time working in real estate and have seen first-hand that it is not an enviable profession right now.

Nationally, foreclosures increased by 24% in the first three months of 2009. This figure accounts for 804,000 affected families just this year, bringing the national total to nearly two million households since this crisis began. It’s not only houses that are remaining vacant for months or being sold at ridiculously low prices at auction. Businesses both large and small are shutting their doors because owners simply are not making the profit needed to pay the rent and their employees and to maintain inventory. Shopping malls are operating at half capacity or closing altogether once the “anchor” stores pull out due to sagging sales. I know we are all waiting for the inevitable improvement in both residential and commercial building, as this reversal will be a clear indication that better days are ahead for all components of our economy.

In my first novel, Lifetime Loser, I introduce some unsavory characters who are determined to get their hands on some profitable land no matter the cost. Fraud, identity theft, and even violence are not beyond their capabilities. I imagine that these men would jump at the opportunity to take advantage of the misfortune that is affecting their neighbors in today’s difficult economy. Will the criminals succeed in their mission, or will the honest occupants of Prairie Winds Golf Course and their innocent neighbors hold onto their property? I hope you will buy my book and find out for yourselves!

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