Sunday, May 8, 2016

More economic news. Local retail and energy.

We recently wrote a long entry here on the Wyoming economy:
Lex Anteinternet: The Wyoming Economy. Looking at it in a different...:    Big Horn foothills. There's a reason why I've posted this here, but you'll have to slog through the post to discover why. ...
Related to that a bit are a couple of article in Wyoming's news that appear today in the local economy, and some from the past week.

One is that the great local bookstore (which has my book in stock) noted a downturn this year.  Now, before there's concern, they're not going out of business, they're just noting a downturn, but that's clearly related to the economy.  They started noticing it during the Christmas Season.

This tops into something I should have written about in my earlier post on the economy, but didn't.  One way to really help the economy is to support local businesses, of which this is a great example.  When I was a kid, there were two bookstores in town. The mall came in, and eventually it had two chain bookstores, and the downtown bookstore closed.  However, the one independent kept on keeping on and eventually a new downtown bookstore was opened, and a used bookstore was also opened downtown. The two mall chain bookstores closed.  For awhile, we had three downtown bookstores, but the owners of one sold it and it has since closed.  The one in the paper, however, remains a great strong bookstore.

Wyomingites are great about "buy local", but we often don't, and in this age of the Internet it's easy not to.  I'm as guilty as anyone else, and in a Wyoming city there are indeed things you won't find locally, or offered by a local retailer.  But you will find more than you suppose.  We have in Casper several Wyoming owned outdoor sporting goods stores besides one chain, and the local ones hole their own against the chain.  Nearby Glenrock has a small specialized third.  We retain, amazingly, an independent record store, which is really against the odds.


And we have a host of local barbers, competing with the chain outfits.  A variety of good automobile repair shops keep on keeping on.  There are, in short, a lot of businesses holding their own against the big box stores.  We even retain an independent appliance store.

People ought to keep them in mind.  If we had an economic  system that was geared towards business ownership, as we often like to pretend we do, we'd favor distributism at least at the retail level, and maybe even at the distribution level. We don't.  But some manage to keep on anyhow.  These business supply livelihoods to their owners and direct contact with "upper management" in a way that big chains don't.  That should count into our calculation in doing business.

Also in the news today is the news that Wyoming's rig count is at a twenty three year low.

That's right, we are down to the lowest number of rigs since 1993.

In 1993 I was only three years out of law school, having taken that turn in careers as there was no work in geology, my undergraduate major.  Those of us who went through those times expected them to come back, and they did.  Predictions about things turning around keep coming in, but I wouldn't expect that to occur too soon.

And we also received the news this past week that Cloud Peak, another major player in the energy industry here is laying employees off.

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