Could Personal Finances Improve During Economic Downturn?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-- If you passed a gas station on your way home from school or work you probably said to yourself when in the world are these high gas prices going to go down?

High prices that experts say are a large contributor to what some say is an economic slump.

While it may be time for us all to keep a closer eye on our bank accounts, one business owner here in Jonesboro says for her, it's business as usual.

"The economy is not in good shape and there's no good news on the horizon," said ASU Economist,  Dr. Dan Marburger.

More and more Americans are having a tougher time making ends meet thanks in part to a major housing crisis in some parts of the country.

That's compounded by record breaking high gas prices just about everywhere, hitting Americans hard, where it hurts the most--their pocketbooks.

"What we're seeing now, which is somewhat unusual, is a slower economy with inflation.  We're getting a double whammy this time," said Dr. Marburger.

According to the website,, some could actually benefit from what some say is an economic downturn by purchasing homes brought down to more affordable levels, and good consumer deals to lure shoppers.

People may also take this time to really look at how they spend their money, and find ways to cut corners.

"All of these deals exist because people act rationally during a recession.  If you know you aren't going to lose your job, you are going to get that raise, in other words, all these bad things that happen to other people won't happen to you, then there are deals out there," said Marburger.

"Jonesboro is pretty insulated. We're doing pretty good," said Dr. Emelda Williams.

Dr. Emelda Williams owns Travel With Us, a travel agency in Jonesboro.

Her numbers are up.

"I think we've slowed down some, but I don't think we're anywhere close to a recession," said Dr. Williams.

According to travel weekly, despite what some call a slowing economy, the travel industry is holding up.

Some families aren't willing to sacrifice an annual family vacation, and even if they can't go as far as normal, Dr. Williams says you don't have to deprive yourself.

"They're sweetening the pot to get you to book," said Dr. Williams.

The government is sweetening the pot so to speak too with rebate checks going out soon.

Experts say that should have a mild, but positive short term affect.

"It's like taking medicine that won't cure the problem, but alleviates some of the symptoms,"said Marburger.