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Economists John Caskey, Philip Jefferson Talk Pawn Shops, Latest Jobs Report

Economists Caskey, Jefferson 
Talk Pawn Shops, Latest Jobs Report  

by Alisa Giardinelli

John Caskey
John Caskey

The Hollywood-fueled image of pawn shops as seedy settings for illegal activity is inaccurate and unfair, says Professor of Economics John Caskey recently in the Chicago Tribune. But it's a hard image to shake, as shop owners trying to expand into more affluent areas are finding.

Caskey, the author of Fringe Banking: Check-Cashing Outlets, Pawnshops and the Poor, notes that the number of pawnshops nationwide grew from fewer than 5,000 in 1986 to about 12,000 in 2007. "People want to protect their property values, and here is something that has a bad image and they don't want it around," he says.

Philip Jefferson
Philip Jefferson

Perhaps a more traditional sign of the state of the economy is the unemployment rate, which fell in June to 9.5 percent. Last week on All Things Considered, Professor of Economics Philip Jefferson agreed with analysts who are not optimistic about the government's latest jobs report. 

"It's not until we see robust job growth in the private sector that Americans are going to start to feel better, and feel as though we're really turning the corner," says Jefferson, a former Federal Reserve Board research economist who teaches macroeconomics, monetary economics, and econometrics. Listen to the complete story.