For those of us who like to pass on any little morsel of optimism we can find …
First from Barron’s today, which writes:
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There are signs of stability, if not recovery, in temporary staffing, which some say is a leading indicator for the wider labor market. ‘From a duration point of view, the correction in the temporary labor market is getting very close to where it’s supposed to turn around,’ says Tig Gilliam, CEO of Adecco North America. … the ASA Staffing Index has stabilized for the first two months of the year after falling to a low in the last week of December.
“We should be near the (stock-market) bottom, which typically occurs months before the economy levels. The fact is, everyone is worn out from bad news, and about everyone who was going to sell has, so the path of least resistance may continue to be up … Many indicators are compared with year-ago numbers. Existing house sales down 8.2%, New ones off 48%. As these numbers improve (existing house sales have, due to repos selling briskly) that means the economy is leveling … The average $170k house is getting very close to where the average family ($50k median income) can afford one. The bottom must be near … There has never been a better time to buy a car (inventories are at their peak), and gas is dropping again.”