Readers have responded generously to our call for hard anecdotes on the state of the economy. More gloom than boom, we’re afraid, and concerns about inflation/cost squeeze – including these comments:

  • Big retailers offering large discounts at times of the year when they should be charging top $$
  • Shopping centres full of people, but few actually spending on discretionary items.
  • Large supermarkets running short of staff, so queues forming at the few checkouts that are open.
  • New real estate enquiry has been slow the last few weeks, but let’s not talk us into anything too drastic…I think the nervousness out there could be lemming like.
  • Book sales are very flat compared to this time last year.
  • A crane hire company proprietor told me last week that “things have just stopped.”
  • Coast guard operators have mentioned a large drop off in boats registering before going to sea.
  • A friend in the commercial printing game says orders are plummeting right now, and sales people (including two of their guns) are getting canned left and right.
  • Any trade that is largely unskilled (you could drag your brother-in-law out of the pub and get him going in a day), the rates are down 10-20 percent over 6 to 18 months ago.

More here – and if you have views (especially hard facts) send them to [email protected].