I would not blame the economy for having less people interested or attending the track.
I for myself was introduced to RC by my dad in the late eighties. At this time I played computer games. But seeing my dad buying this car, building and driving it was far more interesting. I think it is more easy to inspire the new blood if they are young, but therefore the parents have to lead the way. Later it is all about school and you look for some simple lazy ways to have fun like the internet. Getting in a new hobby like ours seems far to complicated then.
I for myself had some years of fun with my dad off the tracks. I even was able to inspire some of my friends, but we never went to clubs or attend races. Then some day my Stadium Truck was put away in a box and I left the hobby for 10 years until I revived it for me after getting my first job.
When I switched to onroad in 2009 everything was new for me: the chassis, brushless, LiPo, 2.4GHz... Beeing in it now and attending races it looks so easy and simple, but if you are new it isn't!
On the other hand I love the new technologies. I want that the car drives without having to prepare a race weekend and to blame a second place on the batteries. Today you can concentrate on your setup and even build some own parts. That is nice! So it still needs some time to understand the hobby, but it became much easier now for everybody which is good for all working people with family