As part of the Bay Area Mastermind membership we provide our members with an assortment of economic information to help them be able to make sound decisions for their business as well as their personal finances.
Today, we’d like to give a quick overview of where we are according to a series of sources that we have gathered. Depending on which economic source you listen to we are now either in the 19th or 20th month of the current recession. By many accounts this has been one of the longest and most severe recessions since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. So let’s take a look at where we are now and what is coming down the economic path.
One of the biggest problems that our economy is facing is the continuing loss of jobs. As of the date of this post the Manufacturing sector has now lost 1.9 million jobs since the recession began while the constructions sector has lost another 79,000 jobs. Even in the service sector June numbers are showing another 244,000 jobs lost. That puts us at a loss of 1.5 million jobs since the beginning of the recession.
Better news was found in the education & health services sector, where 34,000 net new jobs were added. Health care jobs rose by 21,000 in June, matching the average monthly gain during 2009’s first six months. Total U.S. unemployment now stands at a record 14.7 million people. However, a record 4.4 million of the total (29%) have been out of work for six months or longer.
The average workweek has dropped from 33.1 hours to 33.0 hours. This decline suggest that more employers are requiring furloughs as an alternative to cutting wages or laying off workers.
Despite all this bad data the majority of economist are still expecting that the U.S. will return to positive growth( albeit a lot slower growth) towards the end of this quarter.
We are still seeing a decline in inflation pressures which is a good thing, but there is concern that continued stimulus spending will weaken the dollar and cause an increase in inflation down the road.
An interesting thing to note is that of the $787 Billion stimulus program that was passed earlier this year, there is 85%-90% (depending on sources) of those funds not yet spent. Some reports have stated that less than 1% of the funds that were earmarked for construction projects have actually been disbursed.
The bottom line is that we still do not have a clear indication of where the economy is going. Perhaps the next few months will begin to give us a clearer picture.