Economy: Corporate America, Gen X, LA Real Estate

After hitting rock bottom during the height of greed, bailouts, and the economic crisis in 2008, the American public’s perceptions of the reputation of corporate America seem to be bouncing back, according to the findings of the 2009 Harris Interactive RQ Study. The percentage of respondents to the study, which measures the reputations of the 60 most visible companies in the US (as determined by Harris Interactive research), who see the state of reputation as “not good” or “terrible” decreased from 88% in 2008 to 81% in 2009. In addition, there was a 50% increase in the number of Americans who said that the state of reputation is “good,” moving from 12% to 18%. This is the first positive improvement in four years.
As a result of recession-shrunk Baby Boomer household wealth, Generations X and Y will fuel the shopping growth needed to spur an economic recovery, according to [pdf] a new study from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Kantar Retail.GenX in Big Shopping Stage. Baby Boomers (ages 46-64) were largely responsible for the retail spending that fueled the recoveries from the economic recessions of the early 1990s and turn of the century. However, they have now matured to a point where they need to recoup wealth lost during the recession of the past few years in order to save and invest for the future. Therefore, even though Gen X (ages 29-45) is only about 75% the size of the Baby Boom generation, it is one of two demographic age groups that will increase retail spending in the near future. Seventy-one percent of Gen X members have children under the age of 18, and Gen Xers are entering their peak earning years.
Emi Fontana has filled vacant retail stores with art installations, and even used an empty modern house high in the hills above Pasadena to install a site-specific installation by Olafur Eliasson. In L.A.’s Chinatown, Wendy Yao sells a collection of zines, handmade jewelry and records out of a miniscule strip mall, which has led to a variety of unusual temporary venues. Nearby, Mark Allen uses his small storefront as a place for identifying (and eating) edible insects, holding welding classes and orchestrating temporary takeovers of entire museums.
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