A Way With the Crutches!

Geography is one of the most persistent elements factored into any economic forecast. It's a favorite cause-and-effect; because such-and-such a region's having tough times, businesses there must suffer. Let's look at a couple of recent examples in our own industry. Midwest manufacturing collapsed as the auto and steel industries were undermined by foreign competition. As factories closed or cut back, the Rust Belt was born - and jewelers' sales had to suffer. Then New England caught it in the neck. The Massachusetts boom, fueled by a mix of government contracts and hi-tech industries, went bust - and jewelers' sales had to suffer. Next it was California's turn. Thousands of jobs were wiped out as funding for military and space projects was throttled - and jewelers' sales had to suffer. Many jewelers in these three broad markets did suffer as a direct result of the regional econ

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