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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hiatus progress

After following developments in Detroit extremely closely for the past 3-4 years, I took my hand of the pulse for a few weeks this month. It is a bit strange not to have an exact sense of how our progress is coming, though my friends reassure me that not much has changed in the past month. We still have high unemployment, ridiculously low real estate prices, governmental deficits, and the rest of the problems we had a month ago. However, I do sense some positive changes in my absence (and not just the weather).
Of course, the national picture continues to improve gradually (economy, jobs, etc.) at least in the short run, which helps us. Auto demand is up, and given the high fuel prices, the fuel efficient product Detroit has invested in should sell well and pay off. Given the continued weakness in Japan, that means demand for our local product is up (Fiat wants to take advantage of this and buy up the rest of Chrysler - they have been increasing there share and are looking to invest more). We are seeing local hiring pick up as a result. After years of seeing regular layoff press releases in the thousands, it is nice to see some of those jobs coming back. They will never all come back, but some will help.
I've noticed some additional movement in the real estate space as well - nationally, prices are still falling, but they aren't falling as fast here. Also, while a third of local sales are foreclosures, at leaste properties are moving finally, instead of just sitting on the market for months on end...people are making moves and investing.
Are things swell...of course not, but that the worst is behind us is becoming more clear to me after seeing the City again after a month.