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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poverty rate gives pause

Last night, the Washington Post released a special alert citing new Census data… and indicating that nearly 1 in 6 Americans now live below the poverty line.  Click here to see the story.

Note:  The New York Times also had a pretty strong story on the piece in this morning's edition.  Click here to see that version.

Implications:   Regardless of your current financial situation—and regardless of the neighborhood you live in—there is likely someone just down the street that is finding life a bit tougher in 2011 than it was, say, in 2006.  For some, it has been a dramatic change in lifestyle in just a short five years.

This report reveals just how widespread the effects of the recession have been, and why the impact of those years seem to linger.  This issue (and jobs) will serve as a focal point of the next election, future merchandising decisions, and overall public policy.  (Lower incomes mean lower tax collections, and more prudent decision-making by those in government, regardless of political persuasion.)

So, the questions become:  Do you target folks less impacted by the economy?  Or do you modify your offerings to serve those consumers who are operating on less income than they used to?  Or, is the answer a compromise that puts you somewhere in between?

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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