Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are economic conditions improving? Americans hear that they are

News readers are hearing a larger share of good economic news according to the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press:
After months of bleak economic news, an increasing proportion of Americans now say they are hearing a mix of good and bad economic news, while fewer say they are hearing mostly bad news. As has been the case for the last few months, very few say they are hearing mostly good news about the economy.
As I said this morning, the recent U.S. indicators - retail sales, housing starts, and inflation - are offering glimmers of economic hope. But the good news should probably be better described as "slightly less bad" news, as we are still in the middle of Q1 2009 and many forecasters still are calling for a decline until the third quarter of 2009.

The Wall Street Journal consensus forecast is listed here (which is a paid subscription) and includes -5.2% U.S. growth in Q1 2009, -1.9% growth in Q2 2009, and just 0.4% growth in Q3 2009. So the "good" economic news better represents a falling rate of U.S. economic decline in Q1 and Q2, rather than an actual recovery.

Another thing to think about is that financial markets (at least equities) improved over the last couple of weeks, which survey participants might confuse for "good economic news".


Rebecca Wilder

1 comment:

  1. If you mean there is less news that the sky is falling, that seems to be the case. "slightly less bad" news really is the way to state it. Too bad lots of people misread news like that to be "isn't it fantastic!".

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