Posts Tagged ‘conference board’

Hope and jobs

24 December 2010

Optimism is breaking out among economic forecasters. I admit, I share their optimism, as should be clear from my recent posts. My optimism is bolstered by the latest Index of Leading Economic Indicators, which rose in November for the fifth straight month and by the most (1.1%) in eight months.

Two of the big banks cited in today’s New York Times article (first link) predict 4% real GDP growth for 2011, i.e., fast enough to actually reduce the unemployment rate. Unfortunately, as Princeton’s Alan Krueger suggests in the article, that would only be enough to make a modest dent in the unemployment rate. Does the Times still run those “Remember the neediest” taglines, I wonder?

Much as I think recovery is already underway and will pick up steam in 2011, I can’t stop thinking that this recovery, like most recoveries in the past several decades, is likely to leave millions of Americans behind. Will the new Congress care? My main hope is that Republicans’ love of all things voucher will extend to relocation vouchers for the unemployed, to encourage them to move from places like Detroit and Upstate New York to where the jobs are.

P.S. The second link, from 24/7WallSt.com, includes a helpful discussion of the Conference Board’s index of ten Leading Economic Indicators, namely what they are and how some of them might be more like coincident or lagging indicators. The index is still useful, but there’s a reason why nobody is able to extract airtight forecasts from it.

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Good news with a big grain of salt

18 June 2009

actual grain of salt

The Economist looks at the decline in jobless claims over the past four weeks and declares the U.S. recession to have “cleared the hump” (equivalent to “bottomed out,” from a “been down so long it looks like up to me” perspective).  But they predict a less-than-robust recovery:

‘It’s the return to the jobless recovery. And what that means for the population groups most affected—blue collar workers, those with less education, and so on—is that for years to come, work will be difficult to find and wages will lag. The recession will not end for everyone at the same time. Millions of workers will continue to struggle years after output numbers get out of the red.’

(h/t: Vanessa Cruz)

A commenter suggests that the decline in jobless claims may just mean that a lot of people’s unemployment insurance ran out, which, given the millions of long-term unemployed, is plausible.

Some stronger signs that recovery is on the horizon are in the just-released Index of Leading Economic Indicators, by the Conference Board.  The index looks at ten different economic data series (including unemployment claims) which tend to move in the same direction as the overall economy but a few months earlier.  Seven of those indicators were up in May; three were down.  Overall, the index grew 1.2%, its second monthly gain in a row and its largest gain since March 2004.

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