Examine the stability of local economies
April 15, 2003
Web posted at: 11:09 PM EDT (0309 GMT)
Overview: CNN's Jan Hopkins reported that experts who keep track of overall retail sales in the country are optimistic that the U.S. could be emerging from the economic slump that came with the war.
After students read "Looking up: U.S. economy shows signs of recovery" present the following questions:
1. Which movie broke all records for an April movie opening last weekend? According to the story, which other products or services show increases in sales this month? What factors have contributed to this surge in consumer spending? What is "consumer confidence"?
2. Ask students: What is a "leisure" product or service? What are some examples of leisure products and services? Do you spend any of your money on any of these products or services? Why or why not? If so, which ones? Inform students that one way economists judge the strength of the economy is by measuring increases in leisure spending. Ask: Why do you think this is so? What impact do you think teens, as a group, can have on the strength of economy?
3. Have student groups investigate their local economy by conducting the following research by:
• Reading recent newspaper articles on the local economy
• Comparing the changes during the recent weeks in the number of classified ads for jobs, new houses for sale, etc.
• Interviewing local business managers or owners to determine recent changes in their companies' sales or revenues.
After groups collect their data, challenge them to analyze the information and draw conclusions about any changes in their local economy during recent weeks. Have groups prepare scripts for a local TV news report that describe their methods of data collection, their findings and their analyses. After groups present their news reports to the class, ask: What are the reliable economic indicators that serve as a barometer of economic strength for your community? Discuss.