The Good News and the Bad

March 11, 2012. First the good, government reports say there were 227,000 jobs added in February (“added” takes into account layoffs, too). That’s good. History shows people have more fight in them when conditions start to improve.

But as National Public Radio points out there are still 5 million fewer jobs now than before the Great Recession.

Wages are going up at just a bit more than half the rate of prices (gasoline…obviously, but I went to Stop and Shop and the $6.99 bag of walnuts was $8.35!) Also the number of people who want to work full time, but can’t find full time work is 23.5 million, double the number than before the Great Recession.

And take a look at the bottom chart on this other NPR report. It shows the percent of Americans working as a share of the whole work force. Notice it took a steep dive in 2008-9. But it really hasn’t changed much since the end of 2009. It’s a wiggly line that’s not trending up.

And then there’s housing. As Michael Whitney points out in “There’s Never Been a Worse Time to Buy a House” the banks think they’ve overcome their robo-signing scandal that has kept a huge number of foreclosures in limbo. Now they’re ready to dump 60 months worth of foreclosures onto the market. The Fitch Ratings Agency thinks housing prices could fall another 9%.

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