Just about anyone in the Sacramento area could have seen this story coming. If you've driven past a shuttered auto dealership, or noticed those empty strip-mall storefronts, or wondered what happened to your favorite restaurant, you know that retail sales are in bad shape.
The latest government numbers, released today, spell it out in gruesome detail. Retail sales experienced a record decline in October, according to the Commerce Department.
The numbers tell me just how broad-based this recession is becoming. It doesn't matter if you still have your job or don't have to worry about foreclosure; you're hunkering down. We'll have more on this in Saturday's paper. In the meantime, if you missed it, you should take a look at my colleagues Jim Wasserman and Jon Ortiz's story in Thursday's paper about the $240 million expansion at the Galleria mall in Roseville.
And, while we're on the subject of big projects with somewhat unfortunate timing, I'm working on a story about next month's opening of the Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs. The facility is opening with high hopes, but gambling isn't immune to the crummy economy.
The casinos in Las Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe are taking a beating. The question is whether the weak economy will keep Northern California gamblers closer to home - that is, steer them toward Red Hawk and other Sacramento-area tribal casinos - or will prompt them to stay out of casinos altogether. We'll see. My story will run sometime in the next few days.