Saturday, May 9, 2009

Near the bottom?

By Jason T. White, ph.D.

On Friday, May 8th, the Labor Department announced that the United States lost another 539,000 jobs in April, with the national unemployment rate rising to 8.9 percent. Certainly, this is a concern for another half-million families adversely affected by job loss in this recession. But, from an economic perspective, I can see some "green shoots" appearing in the labor market.

Unemployment is considered a lagging economic indicator. The typical recessionary pattern is that the general economy, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other indicators like the stock market, improve before unemployment reacts positively. I believe we are seeing the beginnings of a recessionary bottom based on the following unemployment data.

The goods news is the trend; 741,000 jobs were lost in January, another 681,000 in February, and 699,000 in March. While losing 539,000 jobs in April is bad, the trend appears to be thatjob loss is slowing - a bullish sign!

The link below is a very interesting visual look at the loss of jobs since the beginning of the recession. While the map looks a little like a "war zone" of unemployment explosion, I can see improvement and growth on the horizon. I hope you find this information educational and useful. We continue to monitor economic and investment activity on a daily basis and will provide relevant data whenever possible. Enjoy!

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