Monday, December 28, 2009

Here Comes Santa Claus!

First a little bad news: the government revised the third quarter GDP downward from 3.5% growth to 2.2% growth. Notice that it was still growth, and remember that in the second quarter we had negative 0.7% GDP. I believe we will have higher GDP growth reported for the fourth quarter. We have already seen the number of new people losing jobs diminish. Unemployment overall seems to be decreasing. Yesterday it was reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that the number of temporary workers being hired has surged. Last month, 52,000 temps were added, greater than the number of jobs created in any other category. This is usually a precursor to full-time hires. These jobs also take people off unemployment. Finally, it was reported today that in November previously-owned home sales rose to 7.4%. At this rate of sales, the country has a supply of about 6.5 months. Yes, the prices have dropped again but by the smallest amount in two years. Overall, the economy seems to be moving upwards. The loss of this past Saturday as a shopping day along the east coast is meaningful, but it may be made up in the aftermath, as consumers are buying. As we head into the end of the year and look to next year, the news seems to be getting brighter. Ed

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wondering and Waiting

As I look back at the past month I notice that the number of people who are losing their jobs is receding. The overall unemployment numbers are beginning to drop. Earnings reported for the third quarter by large corporations were reasonably good, even if it was through cost cutting and layoffs. The consumer seems to be a bit freer in their spending. While savings rates have dropped since the summer they are still above 4% which I also consider to be a good sign. Finally, banks and government are beginning to talk about loans for small businesses and General Electric Credit is actually advertising the availability of such loans. This is important since small businesses drive most of the jobs in the U.S. and they need a source of credit. All of these tidings seem to bode well for the economy going forward. Nothing appears to be jumping forward at a rapid rate but slow and steady can win the race. I am still waiting and wondering if all of this will hold and I am thankful for the signs we are seeing. Ed Mallon