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历年考研英语阅读理解2004年03

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[00:05.57]2004 Text3

[00:08.09]When it comes to the slowing economy,

[00:10.41]Ellen Spero isn't biting her nails just yet.

[00:14.13]But the 47-year-old manicurist isn't cutting,

[00:17.67]filing or polishing as many nails as she'd like to, either.

[00:21.92]Most of her clients spend $12 to $50 weekly,

[00:26.72]but last month two longtime customers

[00:29.38]suddenly stopped showing up.

[00:31.91]Spero blames the softening economy.

[00:34.94]"I'm a good economic indicator," she says.

[00:37.78]"I provide a service that people can do without

[00:40.59]when they're concerned about saving some dollars."

[00:43.68]So Spero is downscaling,

[00:46.90]shopping at middle-brow Dillard's department store

[00:49.50]near her suburban Cleveland home,

[00:51.81]instead of Neiman Marcus.

[00:53.93]"I don't know if other clients are going to

[00:56.07]abandon me, too," she says.

[00:58.99]Even before Alan Greenspan's admission

[01:01.00]that America's red-hot economy is cooling,

[01:04.45]lots of working folks had already seen

[01:06.72]signs of the slowdown themselves.

[01:09.44]From car dealerships to Gap outlets,

[01:12.27]sales have been lagging for months

[01:14.29]as shoppers temper their spending.

[01:16.91]For retailers,

[01:17.87]who last year took in 24 percent of their revenue

[01:21.30]between Thanksgiving and Christmas,

[01:23.84]the cautious approach is coming at a crucial time.

[01:27.97]Already, experts say, holiday sales are off 7 percent

[01:32.19]from last year's pace.

[01:33.93]But don't sound any alarms just yet.

[01:36.83]Consumers seem only mildly concerned, not panicked,

[01:41.27]and many say they remain optimistic

[01:43.47]about the economy's long-term prospects,

[01:46.48]even as they do some modest belt-tightening.

[01:50.31]Consumers say they're not in despair because,

[01:53.06]despite the dreadful headlines,

[01:55.07]their own fortunes still feel pretty good.

[01:58.85]Home prices are holding steady in most regions.

[02:02.33]In Manhattan,

[02:03.54]"there's a new gold rush happening

[02:05.37]in the $4 million to $10 million range,

[02:08.47]predominantly fed by Wall Street bonuses,"

[02:11.12]says broker Barbara Corcoran.

[02:13.98]In San Francisco,

[02:15.49]prices are still rising even

[02:17.21]as frenzied overbidding quiets.

[02:20.03]"Instead of 20 to 30 offers,

[02:22.36]now maybe you only get two or three," says John Tealdi,

[02:26.70]a Bay Area real-estate broker.

[02:28.92]And most folks still feel pretty comfortable

[02:31.63]about their ability to find and keep a job.

[02:35.59]Many folks see silver linings to this slowdown.

[02:39.23]Potential home buyers would cheer

[02:41.35]for lower interest rates.

[02:43.03]Employers wouldn't mind a little fewer bubbles

[02:45.67]in the job market.

[02:47.79]Many consumers seem to have been influenced

[02:50.20]by stock-market swings,

[02:52.11]which investors now view

[02:53.34]as a necessary ingredient to a sustained boom.

[02:57.27]Diners might see an upside, too.

[03:00.01]Getting a table at Manhattan's hot

[03:01.83]new Alain Ducasse restaurant used to be impossible.

[03:06.16]Not anymore. For that, Greenspan & Co.

[03:10.02]may still be worth toasting.

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