It’s actually getting a bit better.
As I discussed with Phil the other day, our Real GDP (the best kind of GDP) rose 5.7% last quarter, following a rise of 2.2%.
Add to that the latest job numbers, which claim 20,000 jobs lost (which is far less than the peak), but also a drop in the Unemployment Rate. The commonly-used U3 measure dropped from 10.2% to 9.7%. The problem there is, the U3 doesn’t measure people who have dropped out of the search for work, or who have just been looking too long, or are “underemployed”. And so we take a look at the U6, and with businesses claiming to have cut 20,000 jobs, you’d expect the U6 to have risen slightly; the difference between it and the U3 having come from people dropping out of the search for work. But rather, the U6 has dropped as well, from 17.3% to 16.5%. The numbers are just coming in as it is, but if I had to take a stab at it, I’d suggest that the reason for the U6 dropping even faster than the U3 would be people who had dropped out of the job hunt now re-entering it.
So, things are looking up. The unemployment numbers still aren’t pretty, but as always they’re one of the last things to rise out of a recession. Also, considering that a good chunk of the rise in GDP was from companies replacing stock, I suspect we may see a new round of hiring coming up as manufacturers move product and can return to a fuller production schedule.