Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Are We Now In A Recession?

You probably didnt ask for it, but it has been shoveled down our throats, we are being told that we are in a recession. I have said quite often in this blog, that I'm not buying it, and the economic statistics supports my optimism.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), we maintain a ridiculously low 4.9 percent unemployment. Economists call 4 percent zero unemployment (factoring in seasonal employees, those creating their own business but still cited as unemployed, illegal business activity, etc.). There has never been a recession with this low of unemployment.

On the same BLS page we find that productivity was up 6.3 in the last quarter we have such recorded. Again, not indicative of a recession. In fact it is a sign of a booming economy.

As I watch CNBC (which is all I have available in my TV studio) I am seeing these people celebrate a recession as the Dow hoovers around -300. One of the analysts is arguing that they need to declare the recession now so the market can determine what are the best stocks to invest in. It is dishonest (it takes six months of economic decline to have an actual recession), it probably lead to poor financial planning, but it leads to great TV ratings.

I admit, today may not be a good day to invest in the market if you are faint of heart -- although there are plenty of barging out there that are worth pursuing. But there are numerous places that you can successfully put money -- in Real Estate (especially in the investment side as people move to renting rather than owning), creating your own business, and other more tangible economic activities. But it is simply too early to call this an economy in decline.

Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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Anonymous Carl Hugh said...

Great post. You are the last bastion of optimism!

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Steve Fine said...

I've felt that we have been in a recession for a long time, but your posts brind doubts to my views.

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I have heard you say, if someone else loses a job, that's a recession; if I lose my job, that's a depression. We have many who feel affected by this economy.

12:11 AM  

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