Thursday, August 13, 2009

DEFINING AN 'EASING' RECESSION

Optimism Bypasses Consumers Retail Sales, Foreclosure Data Show Outlook Remains Bleak for Households By Annys Shin and Ylan Q. Mui Washington Post Staff Writers Friday, August 14, 2009 Retail sales dipped last month, while foreclosure filings soared, signaling that the economic pressures facing households have not let up even as the recession appears to be easing. . . . Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the nation's economic output and in the past has helped bring the country out of recession. But rising unemployment could constrain spending and slow growth, economists said. Twenty months into the recession, the economy is still shedding jobs, albeit at a slower pace than six months ago.
A report from the Labor Department published Thursday shows that the number of people filing for unemployment benefits for the first time rose last week to 558,000, up 4,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average, which is less volatile, rose by 8,500, to 556,500. . . . Job losses have helped fuel foreclosure filings, which were up 7 percent in July from June, and up 32 percent from July 2008, RealtyTrac reported Thursday. . . . At the end of June, about one-third of borrowers, or 15.2 million mortgages, were "underwater" with the homeowner owing more than the home was worth, according to a report issued Thursday by First American CoreLogic, which studies the mortgage market.
--read entire article--
____________________________________________________ By whose definition do we keep seeing relentlessly upbeat headlines about Fed Sees Signs of Economic Recovery, Will the Recovery Boost Restaurant Stocks and Retailers, Jobless Numbers Take Some Air From Recovery? In a nation where Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the nation's economic output, mortgages are not the only thing underwater. The number of people on unemployment rose last week to 558,000. In a week! Last week, the headline was that job loss was in decline and the bottom was in sight. Who's keeping the numbers, Donald Duck? Not to worry, all you folks out of work and losing your homes--Goldman Sachs and the banks had a terrific quarter, so, in the minds of Donald and Mickey, happy days are here again. I guess in a nation where 70% of the economy is generated by citizens selling each other cheap crap made in China, there are precious few dependable indicators out there.