It is all well and good that the restaurants are reporting an increase in revenue but the servers are still working 2 or 3 jobs to make payments on an overpriced apartment, probably in debt from student loans(80-120,000 on average), credit cards with astronomical interest rates, and drowning in a vehicle payment and insurance every month. If there is any money left for this average middle class 21-30 year old person(assuming no kids or family to support) it goes towards gas, groceries, utilities, car repairs/maintenance, etc. On top of that one must also find a way to afford healthcare and put money aside in savings. Granted many of the expenses are unavoidable and not unique to this time or recession, the average family income has decreased for the first time in over forty years! So as the cost of living continues to increase tenfold, the average working middle class American is expected to somehow make up the difference. This is just one example of how things aren't adding up in the current economy. I haven't even touched on the increasing national debt/future taxes, crumbling infrastructure, declining test scores among American students, or the worthless government bonds that will help catapult the nation into an even deeper recession and possible depression, I could go on and on unfortunately. For times sake I will not.
The general economic malaise besetting the country has aided Gloucester by keeping people on "staycations", limiting international travel, and keeping driving to a minimum. But move a few miles from the coast,go to NH or Maine, visit Rhode Island, and you'll see the despair this economy has caused.
In addition the cruise ships as few as they may be, have been a huge shot in the arm to our merchants.
Also, local blogs like this one have done a great promotional job for our community.
I've had the same observations. However, the unemployment numbers are real. And they are probably much worse then 8% since people who have stopped looking for a job are not included in that statistic. That's what makes this recession/depression so frustrating. All the outward signs don't necessarily reflect the problem. If you go "inland" you'll find many more stores that are vacant. And the housing market has a long way to recover.