Thursday, April 2, 2009

The slow, bumpy road - updated

A poor jobs report this morning was followed with fresh signals that factories are coming back to life, another sign that the economy, though still weak, might be pointed toward a recovery.

Earlier today, we noted the somber news of record jobless claims - 669,000 in the past month - a reminder that economic recovery will come with surges and setbacks. In Charlotte, the numbers are especially grim - an 11.7 percent unemployment rate that could rise to the low teens, one N.C. economist says.

Still, many economists are optimistic the U.S. economy will begin to grow by the end of the year. Late today, a report to support that optimism: The Commerce Department said orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8 percent in February after six straight monthly declines.

"There is now some solid evidence that the period of economic free-fall is now behind us, that the next step will be a slower rate of decline," Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist for consulting firm IHS Global Insight, told the Associated Press.

Tomorrow, the news will swing back to bad, as economists expect the U.S. unemployment rate to rise to 8.5 percent from 8.1 percent, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. Gault expects that rise to continue - perhaps to 10 percent - before a turnaround.

Economists say that when manufacturing, housing and sales indicators show consistent improvement, businesses will begin to hire again. Until then, we'll have surges and setbacks, sometimes all in a day like this one, which is still an improvement over days with only the latter.


Vincent said...

And to think all this going on before all the Obama spending and Obama programs actually start.

Of course they will claim all the credit for what is a naturally occurring upswing from naturally occurring lows in our chosen model of economy. Except now we are now so much further in debt, utterly devastating and unnecessary debt, with utterly devastating and unnecessary government control of what was our free market system of capitalism it will be interesting to see how we as a people choose to undo that damage.

Regardless, good news in this column is like sunshine on Fargo, much welcome. Let us hope it is universally contagious from this point forward.