Monday, May 11, 2009

Positive Economic News? Maybe.

Some indicators suggest that the economic decline of the past year might have slowed, or even begun to turn around. Dan Laufenberg, an economist recognized by the Wall Street Journal for his accuracy in forecasting, contends that the “economy will recover nicely in the second half of the year.” Information from several sources might give us some hope that the economy will fulfill Laufenberg’s prediction.

The Labor Department reported that, although the U.S. lost another 539,000 jobs in April, the increase in unemployment was less than expected. The Treasury surprised us, positively, with better-than-expected “stress test” results for the nation’s banks. Indicators of construction spending and home sales in March seemed to do better than expected also. All of this might boost consumer and investor confidence, even if only slightly at first.

The positive effects of an upturn, if one has truly begun to occur, will take a while to filter through to government and nonprofit organizations. In addition, unemployment, foreclosures, and other events have placed many people in situations of need from which they will not quickly extricate themselves.

Nonetheless, we can continue to watch the trends, hope that these early signs bode well for our communities, and do all within our control to make choices as individuals and organizations which will speed the recovery.

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