The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 1, 2004 - 7A
academics and voting
Study: Consumers less
nervous than expected
Continued from page 1A
lines at the end of the day," Coleman's e-mail said.
Coleman also addressed University employees, urging
supervisors to "encourage and make it possible for all
employees to exercise (their right to vote.)"
While many students have already voted by absentee bal-
lot, many others are registered in Ann Arbor, and on Tues-
day they must find spare hours to stand in lines and give
Art and Design senior Michelle Panars said one of her
professors canceled classes to allow students more time to
vote. "Professors should definitely give students excused
absences to vote if they have no other time to do it," Panars
Anthropology Prof. Beverly Strassman sympathized
with students who have to schedule time to vote. "I am
working in the election, and I know there are certain
times when the polls will be crowded. While this will
only affect a few students who might have a busy day
on Tuesday, I would allow excused absences for vot-
ing," she said.
Strassman also pointed out that the University adminis-
tration has sent out past e-mails encouraging professors to
grant students excused absences for other occasions, such as
religious holidays. "I was surprised that a similar e-mail did
not go out persuading professors to give excused absences
for voting. I would have thought they might be treated in a
parallel way," she said.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the adminis-
tration can't make the decision of whether professors should
give excused absences to allow students more time to vote.
"That is an academic decision, not administrative, and is up
to the individual professors," she said.
According to Peterson, Coleman's letter specifically
addressed University employees because, although most
employees will have time to vote before or after work,
"many pe>ple that work at the University live in other towns
and commute to Ann Arbor, and their schedules may be
very tight, especially if they have children. They may need
a little flexibility in order to be able to vote. President Cole-
man was letting supervisors know that they need to be
aware of their employees' needs."
Peterson added that students should have plenty of time
to vote, as the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. "There
are lots of opportunities for students to get out and vote, and
I really hope they do," she said.
Many students agree, saying that voting is a high
priority. "It is really important to vote, especially in
this election. I am going to wake up early to make
sure I have time to do it." LSA sophomore Jessicca
Her friend Ann Hsueh, a Rackham student, said, "There is
a polling place in Markley (Residence Hall), which is my resi-
dence, so it really won't be that hard to vote." She added that
professors should not excuse students from class to vote, say-
ing that too many students would abuse the privilege. "Indi-
viduals should make time for it, even if they have to wake up
early like they are waiting for concert tickets." Hsueh said.
LSA junior Boni Wen said since she lives nearby in Ann
Arbor, she plans to go home to vote and does not expect to
have trouble finding time to do so.
Hsueh offered similar remarks, saying, "The city tries to
cater to students. They have polling places like the (Michi-
gan) Union, which is a central location. With all the acces-
sibility, it shouldn't be that hard to vote."
Five of Ann Arbor's polling places are located on the
University's campus, with polls at the Union and in Bursley,
South Quad, East Quad and Markley residence halls.
By Koustubh Patwardhan
Daily Staff Reporter
People may have been more jittery
about making big purchases last month,
despite signs that the economy is recov-
ering. But experts say consumer fears are
actually smaller than expected.
According to a report released Friday,
consumers' confidence in the economy
fell last month despite the economy
recording growth last quarter.
The drop has been attributed to con-
cerns about slow job growth as well as
rising oil prices.
The Index of Consumer Sentiment,
released by the University's Surveys of
Consumers on the last Friday of every
month, was 91.7 in October, down from
94.2 in September. This drop was small-
er than expected, experts at the Survey
of Consumers said. This month marks
the first time that this number has been
above 90 for 12 consecutive months after
September 11, 2001.
Richard Curtin, director of the Uni-
versity's Survey of Consumers, said in
a written statement that the decline in
confidence was small because "the surge
in gas prices was nearly over and (con-
sumers') apprehensions about future job
At the same time, this was the first
time in five months that consumers
This was the first time in five months that
consumers expected the economy to improve
in the long term.
expected the economy to improve in the
"Consumers expected the economy to
improve rather than worsen during the
year," Curtin said.
Economists estimate that real con-
sumption spending would rise 3.25
percent during 2005, when adjusted for
Nejat Seyhun, professor at the Ste-
phen M. Ross School of Business, said
that confidence is falling in the short
run because jobs are not being added as
quickly as expected and "some sectors
are not doing well."
He said the economy continues to
show some signs of strength, fueled by
home buying coupled with low mortgage
rates, but added that for the economy to
perform well, it needs to add more jobs.
Even though consumer confidence
slipped in October, gross domestic
product - which is the value of all
goods and services produced in the
United States - grew 3.7 percent in the
third quarter, up from 3.3 percent in the
second quarter, according to numbers
released on Friday. Economics Prof.
Benjamin Chabot said GDP growth has
been high compared to historical levels.
He expects the economy to continue
its strong growth, as it has been grow-
ing above its historical average for the
past seven quarters. The economy has
recorded an average 4.3 percent growth
rate for the past seven quarters.
"The impressive GDP growth isn't
reflected in consumer confidence because
employment and the stock market have
not kept pace with the overall economy,"
Consumers expected an increase in
inflation to 3.1 percent in October from
2.8 percent in September. According
to the report, even though increases in
energy prices will cause a decrease in
spending this holiday season, holiday
spending should still increase from the
Chabot said rising gas prices would
not impact holiday spending.
"In inflation-adjusted dollars, gasoline
is much cheaper today than it was in the
1970s and 1980s, and gas makes up a sig-
nificantly smaller portion of the current
consumer's budget," he said.
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