Local businesses, workers feeling recession

Construction is up in downtown Raleigh but on the ground, people say they're struggling.

Economic experts say we're in a recession caused by the mortgage crisis and housing market.

"I ride my bicycle to work and then when I'm at work, I ride a bicycle," city worker Chuck Meek said.

Meek says his bike has helped him ride out the economic storm.

"I'm just happy that I'm able to find a way to save some money and help the environment," Meek said.

"The economic slump is having a domino effect," Laura Antonelli, owner Peche Chocolate, said. "Banks are hurting. People are paying more for basics at the grocery store, and even the smallest businesses say they're having a rough time.

She can see the difference in her bottom line.

"Compared to last year, it's dropped off quite a bit," Antonelli said. "I don't carry quite as much inventory as I used to."

The brightly wrapped, imported chocolate and wine she sells is staying on the shelves.

"Before, people really never mentioned price," Antonelli said. "They'll maybe come in and buy a few pieces versus a whole box for a gift."

One local expert says the economy shoult start improving toward the end of the year.

Those like Meek and Antonelli may have to wait until 2009 until the economy mirrors downtown's growing skyline.

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