Daily Video

February 23, 2009

Finding Positives in Bad Economy

While the economic news is definitely dismal, there are a few groups benefiting from the current recession.

In this report, economics correspondent Paul Solman talks to a software developer who lost his job and has found a second career, and more healthy lifestyle as a personal trainer.

In fact, economists say that when the economy goes south, people smoke less, and eat less, which is a good thing.

There are also young families who would not have been able to afford a house until the plunge in home prices.

The video includes a snippet of a subversive movie short that shows the cultural topsy-turviness of the current environment, suggesting that perhaps the economy will benefit from a little down time.


“Sometimes I think, yes, I feel bad for other people who aren’t as good off maybe right now as we are right now, but at the same time, you know, someone’s loss is someone’s gain.” – Anna Cordner, new homeowner

“So when times are bad, people live healthier in a variety of ways. They exercise more. They’re less likely to be obese. They appear to have a little bit healthier diets” – Chris Ruhm, Economics Professor at University of North Carolina

“We’re physically healthier; we’re not necessarily mentally healthier. One piece of evidence for that is that suicides go in the opposite direction. Particularly if you’re working very long hours, working really hard, jobs are also a source of stress, and so we might have these competing stresses.” – Chris Ruhm, Economics Professor at University of North Carolina

Warm Up Questions

1. What might be some good things to come out of this economic downturn?

2. What is foreclosure? Who benefits and who suffers?

Discussion Questions

1. Why do economic hard times tend to lead to healthier lifestyles? Do you see yourself getting healthier?

2. The reporter talked to some young women who were able to buy houses, who else might be benefiting from the downturn? Why?

3. Do you think the downturn is worth the pain if it brings prices back to affordable levels?

Additional Resources

Transcript of this report

Paul Solman’s Business Desk

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