I took it upon myself to ask my customers yesterday; "How are things going where you work?"
An extraordinary number of them said they were unemployed or laid off.
These were people who were actually buying something, making me wonder if its the last drips of water out of the faucet after the water has been turned off.
This is especially startling to me because this is the time of year when people would ordinarily be thinking about gearing up for the spring building season. Landscapers and outdoor stuff. More tourists.
It was also very quiet for the first half of the day. Closing my eyes at my desk, I could hear very little car traffic or conversation outside.
I've also noticed that I've gone from being the most pessimistic person in the room, sometimes ludicrously so, to almost the most sanguine person in the room. It's like the barometric pressure dropped around me.
Lots of commiseration going on.
Everyone, but everyone is finally aware, and willing to admit that things aren't going all that great.
Ordinarily, this might be a sign of the bottom. But....
I was telling my wife this, and she said, "It's funny how everyone thinks you're the pessimistic one and I'm the optimistic one. I think it's going to get way worse. Who's to say it can't keep going down?"
Anyway, this is the most anecdotal of of evidence.
And a short snapshot of time.
But there it is....
9 hours ago