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Economic momentum is building

An article today in the Washington Business Journal confirms my belief. How about yours?
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke sees the bottoming out of the housing market slump and increasing spending by consumers as signs the U.S. economy will be on the mend later this year, although he forecasts the recovery will be gradual.

In testimony before the congressional Joint Economic Committee Tuesday, Bernanke also warned another jolt to the banking system will stall any recovery.

“We continue to expect economic activity to bottom out, then to turn up later this year,” Bernanke said. “Key elements of this forecast are our assessments that the housing market is beginning to stabilize and that the sharp inventory liquidation that has been in progress will slow over the next few quarters.”

The forecast assumes a continued gradual repair of the country’s financial system, and a relapse there could cause a recovery to stall, he said.

While a recovery is now expected to begin, the Fed’s forecast cautions that the rate of growth is likely to remain below its longer-run potential for awhile. Businesses will likely put off hiring, meaning unemployment will remain high even after economic growth resumes.

Bernanke also believes inflation will remain low for some time.

A report Tuesday from the Institute for Supply Management showed U.S. service industries, which make up 90 percent of the economy, contracted at the slowest pace in six months in April, seen as another sign the recession is nearing an end.

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Can you believe a company cannot fill job openings?

This article in the Pittsburgh Business Journal caught my eye this morning:

I guarantee you 95 out of 100 people I ask would tell me there are no jobs out there. Yet this article relates two companies who cannot find qualified talent. I especially liked this comment: “Many candidates’ resumes they’ve received, however, have been job-searching for months and seem to be more interested in getting a paycheck than being a fit with the company.”

When in our upbringing did we get the message ‘the world owes us a living’? I talk to many folks in their 20’s and 30’s who have not yet figured this out, and people in their 40’s and up who still don’t get it either. Perhaps this recession is just what the doctor ordered for our country? It is not outsourcing, illegal immigrants, government bailouts, the Internet, or any other excuse you want to make for not being able to find work. It is the fact that somewhere along the way, our skills did not keep up with what the marketplace is willing to pay for. Go find a marketplace problem and commit to helping to solve it. Someone will pay you to do that!

Positive Economic News

So in the interest of keeping my own sanity, and helping our clients do the same, I began recording what I viewed as positive economic news from the business world in about a month ago. You might be interested to learn that I now have collected ten pages worth of information covering such broad topics as manufacturing in China, the banking industry, retail sales, consumer confidence, new home sales, land acquisition, etc. Our economy is still 70% consumer driven, and our desire for the incredible standard of living we enjoy in the States is not going away. Hopefully we are going to be more realistic in our use of debt to pay for that standard of living (which is a good thing), but we are emotional and frequently irrational human beings when it comes to our consumption of “stuff”. So let me know if you need a sample of my “Good economic news” and I will begin to share them as I collect them. Three cheers to the recovery that I believe has already begun!