Sunday, December 18, 2011

Signs Continue that U. S. Economy May Be Slowly Improving – Republicans Near Panic Mode

Better Economy – Great For Everyone Except the Republicans

Since the economic problems of the summer, when it looked like the U. S. economy might fall into a second recession the U. S. economy has showed indications that it was slowly, very slowly strengthening.  Growth in the 3rd quarter was revised downward but was still positive and the employment situation has been improving.  The unemployment rate fell because of reductions in the labor force, but there was and has continued to be growth in private sector jobs.

Now there is news that initial claims for unemployment insurance is continuing its decline.

The number of U.S. workers seeking jobless benefits last week fell to its lowest point since May 2008, a sign that the labor market may finally be gaining strength.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance fell by 19,000 to 366,000, the government said Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims—which smooths out weekly gyrations in the measure—fell 6,500 to 387,750.

Even better is survey news that employers may be adding jobs at a higher pace than before.

Meantime, surveys of large and small employers also show improving conditions and sentiment. A survey out Tuesday from ManpowerGroup hit its highest reading since 2008, while a report by the National Federation of Independent Business showed small businesses added workers in November after shedding them for five straight months. Labor Department data reflect a steady increase in job openings while consumer polls suggest people are feeling better about the job market.

And all of this means that the U. S. may see more declining unemployment rates or a stable rate as larger numbers of workers return to the job market, either of which is a good economic indicator.

What is happening and why is it happening?  Like expansions, recessions eventually run out of steam.  For example auto sales are doing very well, in large part because the low sales of the past few years resulted in an aging fleet of cars, and the age of that fleet is causing consumers to purchase replacement cars even though they may not want to.  Parts of the residential and commercial real estate market are showing recovery and state and local governmen finances are improving in many areas.

Consumer confidence is also increasing, and Americans are starting to adjust to the new realities, one of which is that apartment living rather than home ownership may be the lifestyle of many people.  This is spurring some construction in multi-family housing.  Energy production is increasing, albeit with huge environmental concerns, and farm commodity prices have remained high even though they have retreated from their peak.  The price of gold has declined, another positive indicator.

A sustained recovery through this winter and next spring will only help the Obama team and may be the only way Mr. Obama can be re-elected against a Mitt Romney candidacy. (If economic conditions are so bad that a Newt Gingrich candidacy is viable, well, the economy has real serious problems).  So expect doom and gloom in the Republican camp this holiday season, but that is only natural.  What benefits the large majority of Americans is usually bad news for Republicans.

1 comment:

  1. Just when things are looking up, along comes Boner:

    For Senate Tax Cut Stopgap, Odds in House Are Uncertain

    ...House passage next week was thrown into serious doubt on Saturday afternoon, when a number of rank-and-file Republicans objected in a conference call with Speaker John A. Boehner...

    Ineffectual or treacherous, Boehner is responsible for much of the stupidity we see coming from D.C.