Thursday, February 09, 2012

Economy Getting Better - Maybe

OK, so the economy is getting better. Maybe.

We added 243,000 jobs last month, and 50,000 of those were in manufacturing. Those are both very good good numbers. Especially after a gain of 220,000 the month before.

But we need many months in a row of that to really begin turning around. And, in fact, about 20 years like that to get back on top of things. That is not likely to happen. In fact, it is not going to happen. Don't expect our nation to ever live on easy street like we did in the 80's and 90's. Never again. It just isn't going to happen. Of course, there is still room for some of us to make good money and live comfortably, but that is an article for another day.

The situation with Greece (and Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland) isn't crashing down around us. Yet. And in fact, they seem to be real good at putting off real progress or real disaster. Just kicking the can down the road some more. I guess they have been kicking the can down the road for many years. It looks now like they can keep doing it for several more months.

It is looking like those who purchased treasuries from the Greek government will only get back about 1/3 of what they loaned that country. An article back in late Oct said they were willing to take 1/2 but everyone kept stalling. And they are still stalling.

Until this all comes to a head, no real progress can be made in the world economy. No progress either towards gain, or towards disaster. Just stagnant.

Still, this does give us a breather. Maybe.

Related Links.
The gains in employment were broad-based, including manufacturing, construction, temporary help agencies, accounting firms, restaurants and retailers. The number of industries showing job gains climbed to 64.1 in January from 62.4 a month earlier.
Factory workers put in an average 41.9 hours of work each week, the most since January 1998, while overtime hours climbed to the highest since March 2007. Manufacturing payrolls increased by 50,000 in January, the most in a year.
Private payrolls, which exclude government agencies, rose 257,000 in January after a revised gain of 220,000 the prior month, marking the biggest back-to-back gain since March-April. It was projected to climb by 160,000.
The so-called underemployment rate -- which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking -- decreased to 15.1 percent from 15.2 percent.
European leaders cajoled bondholders into accepting 50 percent writedowns on Greek debt and boosted their rescue fund’s capacity to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion) in a crisis-fighting package intended to shield the euro area.
The 17-nation euro and stocks climbed while bond spreads narrowed after leaders emerged early today from a 10-hour summit in Brussels armed with a plan they said points the way out of the quagmire, albeit with some details still to be ironed out.

Look at link vs title
U.S. Stocks Advance on Italian Optimism
By Rita Nazareth - Nov 15, 2011
“It was good to hear about retail sales,” Randy Bateman, chief investment officer of Huntington Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio, said in a telephone interview. His firm oversees $14.5 billion. “People are getting tired of hearing about Europe. They are trying to resolve their issues. With Mario, Italy has an economist. Europe will muddle through.”
Equities recovered as Monti, an economist and former adviser to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said he’s “convinced” that the country can overcome the current crisis as he prepares to meet with President Giorgio Napolitano tomorrow to present his new government. Stocks had fallen earlier after Spain’s borrowing costs rose at an auction. Italian 10-year yields topped 7 percent and rates on French, Belgian, Spanish and Austrian debt rose to euro-era records above German bunds.

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