Report: West Des Moines May Face Hard Times
Business Week Says City Vulnerable Because Of Real Estate, Financial Jobs
POSTED: 3:48 pm CDT September 28, 2008
UPDATED: 3:56 pm CDT September 28, 2008
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- West Des Moines could be hit hard by the nation's financial crisis, according to an article in Business Week magazine.
The publication said more than 22 percent of the suburb's residents work in the financial and real estate industries.
The magazine ranked West Des Moines fourth on a list of 10 cities across the nation that are most vulnerable to the effects of the current credit crisis.
I use to live in West Des Moines about six months ago. The sprawling suburbanization really took off about fifteen years ago and now is beginning to slow down a bit. It seems most people who live in the area (from middle class to well off to rich) are mostly employed in the financial industry. Many came from other states to buy up the cheap new construction realestate. With the looming economic crisis and unknown financial system I feel a great exodus out of the area by the unemployed could occur.
Starbucks and other trendy stores have been closing down. More people are shopping at Wal-Mart instead of the Mall and other retail stores. Designer clothing stores are taking a big hit. Talbot's, Old Navy and American Eagle seem to be reporting losses.
I am seeing more and more people shopping at sam's buying more staple types of food. Where there once many buying flat-screens, vacation packages, dvd's office electronics and much more are being replaced with those buying large quantities of meat, flour, grains and bottled water.
I have been noticeing this trend growing slightly and as of recently begin to increase faster. More and more single shoppers or small families that would use shopping carts are now using flat beds and getting more general and more simple things, (milk, bread, cheese, pasta and canned goods) instead of brand named processed and heavily packaged products.
Gas seems to be doing ok, However... The guy that works at the station I get my gas from told me our current price of $3.25 was only low because of credit and financial problems with the corporation that owes the gas station. He had heard that the figures were low because of errors and would shortly raise as the current reserve stocks were replaced with more expensive gas from the winter crude imports. Rumor or not this is disturbing as he implicated over $4 a gallon was likeley by December. I have seen a large increase in two wheeled small motored vehicles like motorcycles, mopeds and scooters.
The Unemployment here in Iowa is at an all time high since around 1990 or so. I havn't noticed this but then again I don't go around asking people if they work or not. I have however noticed an increased presence of people useing food stamp cards at the local Wal-Mart. Whether this is attributed to unemployment or increased birth in impoverished families is unknown.
The price of food has been rising and recently very rapidly. A gallon of milk which sat a few cents above a dollar at $1.07 two years ago, is now at $2.86. An almost 300% increase. Cheese and other dairy products have followed this somewhat but not as much. Raw dry foods such as rice and beans have doubled in price. Canned foods have increased slightly, more so with popular name brands. The discount and dollar stores are stocking smaller and cheaper products. I have noticed that many places that sold Del Monte brand brand canned vegetables are now only selling Colonial Kettle a less known and cheaper brand.
I hope this is helpful to some people around Iowa or to warn people of things to come in other states.
Keep up the prepping and I hope we pull through this.