Some local residents do things differently when gas prices go up.
Gas customer #1: “I’ve had to change jobs because my employment was too far. 40 miles a day.”
Gas customer #2: “It just doesn’t bother me that much."
Question: “It doesn’t change the way you live?"
But even if you don’t change your spending habits much, that doesn’t mean the economy as a whole isn’t suffering – especially here in the Sacramento region. That’s because our slumping housing market makes matters even worse. Sacramento State economist George Jouganatos says high oil prices plus low housing prices are a bad combination.
“The housing crisis and further escalation of oil prices will reduce retail spending over the holidays. This could cause, of course, higher unemployment during the seasonal periods where we expect lower unemployment due to hiring more part-time workers, et cetera.”
In fact, a report from the state’s Employment Development Department last month said retailers were not yet hiring for seasonal jobs they normally fill each year. Still, Jouganatos says, it’s important to keep it all in perspective.
“This is part of a cycle. We will get out of this housing crisis and this financial crisis. It won’t be immediate; it may be a year. But we will get out of it. It’s cyclical, very simple as that.”
Until then, the oil prices will add yet more pressure to an already stressed local economy.