Looking at the Economy Locally

We all know Americans are concerned about the economy - especially with the fiscal cliff looming.

But how do they measure the relative health of the economy?

Our research shows that Americans tune out to big numbers like the national unemployment rate. Instead, they measure the economy based on what they're seeing in their communities. More specifically, Americans measure the economy by three metrics: gas prices, housing values, and most importantly, the job market.

With these guides as our measure, there are some signs of life for our economy.

First, gas prices are the lowest they've been in all of 2012.

Second, sales of existing homes are at their highest level in three years - with new housing construction up 21.6% since last November.

Finally, certain sectors of the economy - including 'next economy' sectors like clean tech - are ramping up hiring. I posted earlier this week about the record setting rate of installation for solar in 2012. In that vein, a California solar company is looking to hire 450 new employees.