ViewPoint: The economy isn't as bad as doom-sayers claim

December 4, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Everybody's worried about a stagnant economy, and  lay-offs. Even Detroit car makers are trekking to Washington, with their hands out for money.

Who could blame shoppers for sitting on their wallets this past Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, That's what they call 'Black Friday' when most retailers see if they will make it out of the red ink, and into the black.

Stores with big early morning sales seems to have done quite well, thank you.

According to the National Retail Federation's 2008 Black Friday Weekend survey,  more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites over Black Friday weekend. That's 25 million more shoppers than last year.

Shoppers spent an average of $372.57, that's up 7.2 percent over last year's $347.55.

The National Retail Federation's projects that total holiday sales will be 2.2 percent  better this year than last year. They expect Americans to spend $470.4 billion.

And brick and mortar stores aren't the only ones doping OK. The Wall Street Journal reports that Black Friday produced $534 Million in Internet Commerce Spending. That's Up 1 Percent Versus Year Ago on the Internet.

The real story will be seen when the numbers from the December first e-commerce sales come in.

We need to be financially aware in uncertain times, but that doesn't mean we have to live in fear either.

Bad news travels fast, and sometimes it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are glad to see that Americans aren't buying into a doom-and-gloom economic forecast.