A mayor's point of view of the economy
Dick Moore, mayor of Elkhart, Indiana, was on hand to see President Obama return to the struggling capital of the R.V. industry in order to commit stimulus funds for the making of electric cars.
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President Obama returned to the struggling capital of the R.V. industry in order to commit $2.4 billion in stimulus for the making of electric cars. Unemployment in Elkhart is about 17%, but Moore says things are improving.
"We've been hit hard. We've been reliant upon the R.V. industry for almost forever, it seems. It has been very good for us. But, when the price of gasoline and fuels went up to $4 and $5 per gallon, and when the availability of bank credit went the other way, the R.V. industry got caught right in the middle. I am very optimistic that that will come back. Of course, we are trying to diversify here, look for industries that are not reliant upon the R.V. industry."
Moore continues, "The person that wanted that R.V. for their recreation, for their camping, 15 months ago, still wants that vehicle. I am confident that if we give them some work, let them earn some money, we are going to go back up in sales, and the R.V. industry is going to be okay."
The last time that President Obama was in the Elkhart area, he said that recovery is going to be measured in years, not week or months. Moore says, however, that he is seeing some signs of economic recovery already.
"A few months ago, the only money available in this country was the government money--that's our money. The investors are investing more. They don't do that when bad things are coming out of the White House. The economic indicators are looking a lot better. We are seeing some return to employment in Elkhart, Indiana, even within the R.V. industry. We see car lots that are going empty, so many cars are being sold."
Moore is optimistic about the Stimulus Package money as it affects his city directly, and indirectly. "Let's forget about Elkhart, Indiana. Let's say that some of that money went to California, or it went to New York. When those projects begin there, they are ordering some supplies that we make here in Elkhart, Indiana."
In closing, Moore stresses that Elkhart's recovery will continue to be a long process. "As I get around my city, we are seeing a lot more people in our restaurants here in the area. Talking to retail merchants, (they are) telling me sales are up. It isn't great; the word 'slight' fits with it. We are not at the end of the tunnel yet."
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