Some Observers Think “Things May Be on the Verge of Picking Up”

Apr 1, 2009
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

While at least one economist, Martin Feldstein, is quite pessimistic about the chances for a U.S. economic recovery, others were more cheery today.

Economist Robert Genetski suggested this morning during his talk at ERE that the economy should pick up steam around August. The labor market should follow after that, as in 2010. (The unemployment rate usually stays strong at the beginning of a recession and is late to improve at the end of one.) Genetski says companies can expect a big skills shortage and fight for employees in the coming years — and a lot of inflation caused by government overspending/debt.

Meanwhile: the Conference Board reports today that “some better numbers are beginning to emerge … suggesting that the recession will not intensify further (following the first quarter of 2009). The decline in real consumer spending has leveled off a little. Retail sales, excluding cars and car parts, rose by .7% in February, and some turns in the measures of home sales and prices were also recorded.”

MRI’s Jonathan Hefferlin, a former TV commentator who’ll speak to recruiters in June, said this to me in an email today: “Last year you could count on a good four months of looking (for a job), surely 6-8 now, but 18? What happened to the good news, like the average household ($50k) can again afford the average house ($165k), plus mortgage rates (4.63%) are now at all-time lows, and a $5k down payment is welcome! Last time they were affordable, interest rates were 2 points higher, and downs were more like 20% and couldn’t be borrowed from Dad, then the insanity, that led us into this not-so-Great Depression. Now we just have to wait until all the abusive buyers make way for those who waited, saved, or are new to the house-buying market … You might think the avalanche of $14 Tillion in planned or allocated and spent stimulus/bailout monies since the 1st paultry $200 Bil. came into play a year ago would get employers to wake up, that things may be on the verge of picking up.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.