cloudy
Tuesday February 9th, 2016 8:52AM

Mood of the Nation: Business owner spending less

By The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) -- On the eve of the 2012 elections, The Associated Press interviewed dozens of Americans to try to gauge the economic mood of the nation. People were asked about jobs, housing, gas prices, retirement and other issues. Among them was Hilda Mitrani, 51, of North Miami Beach, Fla. The Great Recession and slow economic recovery have devastated her public relations and marketing business. But Mitrani says positive signs are emerging.

---

Mitrani's long-time clients are spending cautiously, if at all - and she has had to adjust her own lifestyle as a result.

She delays making home repairs. She keeps an eye on the thermostat. And only occasionally, she's able to treat herself to a new pair of shoes.

"It's been a hard recovery," says the single mother of two children.

Mitrani is among many feeling squeezed by a painfully sluggish economic rebound. Unemployment remains high at 7.8 percent. Average pay trails inflation. And the economy is growing too slowly to accelerate hiring.

Mitrani's clients in the nonprofit and health care sectors are reluctant to spend on public relations when they may need that money for supplies or other basics, she says. So Mitrani, who used to employ two part-time workers, now runs the business alone.

But even with lower overhead, she still feels squeezed.

"You're not sure if you're going to get paid this month or next month, or if you're going to have a new client to replace the project that you just finished," she says.

Routine utility bills feel like a burden. And thinking about college tuition payments - her daughter is a junior at Washington University in St. Louis - is "nerve-wracking."

More than anything else, though, she laments the endless string of payments for insurance. "Between the car, the house, the health - so much of the income goes to insurance that it's hard to get ahead," she says.

She rations healthcare for herself to cut down on co-pays. And when her daughter needed medical attention earlier this year, she found herself saying dueling prayers in the hospital.

"Please don't let this cost an arm and a leg. And please let her be OK," Mitrani recalls saying.

Mitrani is resigned to the fact that her retirement won't be as comfortable as her parents'. Compared with her parents' generation, Mitrani believes Americans today are a bit more materialistic and might need to ratchet back expectations a bit. There's evidence this is happening: Consumers have been saving and reducing debts more, and spending less, than before the financial crisis.

Still, Mitrani sees some reason for optimism. The stock market is coming back: The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index is up more than 12 percent this year. And slowly, clients are beginning to inquire about using her services in 2013.

"They're asking for proposals and planning expansions," she says. "They're starting to talk about the future."
  • Associated Categories: Business News, Politics
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fiscal cliff may determine gas prices at start of 2013
Retail gas prices climb as 2012 comes to end. While gas prices are likely to rise into next year, whether or not a deal is made to avoid the fiscal cliff will determine if prices continue on an upward trend.
6:18AM ( 3 years ago )
Business News
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Obama wants gun violence measures passed in '13
Recalling the shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders as the worst day of his presidency, President Barack Obama pledged to put his "full weight" behind legislation aimed at preventing gun violence.
3:52PM ( 3 years ago )
Maine same-sex couples marry in first hours of law
After waiting years and seeing marriage rights nearly awarded and then retracted, gay couples in Maine's largest city didn't have to wait a moment longer than necessary to wed, with licenses issued at the stroke of midnight Friday as a new state law went into effect.
8:02AM ( 3 years ago )
Politics
UPDATED: Union General Hospital CEO, physician among six arrested; hospital issues statement
The CEO of a hospital in Union County was arrested Thursday afternoon by Union County sheriff's deputies, along with four other hospital employees and one former employee.
By Brian Stewart, Bryan Pirkle
8:17PM ( 4 days ago )
Hall Planning Commission sets tone for subdivision growth
The fact that three subdivisions were part of the Hall County Planning Commission’s agenda is an indication that the area’s economy is expanding.
10:46PM ( 1 week ago )
Federal Reserve concerned about how global pressures could affect the U.S. economy
The Federal Reserve sounded a note of concern Wednesday about how global pressures could affect a slowing U.S. economy, while keeping a key interest rate unchanged.
By The Associated Press
9:45PM ( 1 week ago )
Hall Commission to send sidewalks to Floyd Road, updated Comprehensive Plan to state
Hall County commissioners plan to give final approval Thursday evening to a couple of items whose time has come: sidewalks along half-a-mile of Floyd Road and an updated Comprehensive Plan for Hall County to state officials in Atlanta.
8:05PM ( 2 weeks ago )
First-time claims for unemployment insurance up in Gainesville, elsewhere in Georgia
The number of initial claims for unemployment insurance in Georgia rose by 41.9 percent in December, compared to a month earlier.
By Ken Stanford
11:45AM ( 2 weeks ago )