Economic Data: Are We Over The Hill?

Max Logo Thumb 100 8625130397_dc524b1105_tWhat a though five years we have seen since the financial crisis hit the fan. While over the past 6 – 12 months I had the feeling things are getting slightly better, I hesitated to come out and make a stand with my opinion. This morning, after looking at the newest statements regarding jobless claims and other economic data, I finally take a shot and make a statement.

I am usually not a number cruncher and don’t give a lot of “data of the past” to predict the future, but in addition to what I see and what my gut tells me, this morning a couple of numbers caught my eye. Each of them alone don’t tell a story, but there is a strange combination of two or three that can be seen as positive signs. Two of the reported items are, jobless claims going down and productivity is going up.

Jobless claims going down and productivity is going up is a combination we don’t see very often. At least not over the past modest years. Usually productivity goes up when people lose their job and those that keep their job have to do the “fired’s” work in addition to their own.  Yes, I am aware that this is not the usual “expert talk” and can be taken apart with a lot of analysis and rethoric, but it is still something I see as an unusual good sign.

In addition to that, the trade gap seems to shrink. Not only because the lower import of oil, the non-petroleum gap narrowed by 10% as well. While the economy is still weak and, for now, there is no reason to celebrate, the combination of the news is clearly a good sign and gives some hope that we might have made it over the hill.

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