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Hopes and fears for a new decade

Residents taking a cautious look ahead

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January 03, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Now that 2009 is out the door and a new decade's upon us, people are looking forward with a mixture of hope and concern. They often express both about the same things — economy, local issues and the war — based upon this paper's random sampling of a handful of Southbridgians.

"Without sounding cliché, I really do hope the economic status changes to the positive for people," said Liz Gendreau. "My fear would be that it'd get worse."

Local banker Joe Coderre inclines to the former. He said his institution, Savers Bank, is "coming off a fairly decent year" despite the economy and predicted most people will see improvement by summer.

"I think the worst may be past us," he said, adding that he hopes people "learn from their mistakes."

A Dec. 2 post at Arizona State University's Carey Business School Web site essentially agrees, but argues the recovery is likely to be quite a bit more "tepid" than recoveries from previous recessions, citing JP Morgan Chase economist Anthony Chan's talk at the school's "Economic Forecast Luncheon."

"'Consumers took a big hit in wealth, which fell $14 trillion from the peak to the bottom of the financial market collapse. It has recovered some, but consumers were still probably $8 trillion in the red in the third quarter,' he said. That's significant, Chan said, because American consumers used rising asset values to substitute for real savings. Now, in order to save, they have to spend less," the site observed.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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