Economic Roundup … and the news ain’t good.

I know, I know … the recession is over. But somehow statistical confirmation is outweighed by friends and family who still can’t find jobs, and 9.7% unemployment (new figures come out this week ) is hardly reassuring. I can assure you Wall Street is worried.

Predicting economic direction is tricky business .. especially now. I always hold off on this kind of stuff, especially since its so easy to misread the monthly tea leaves. But based on the following, and what my former colleagues on Wall Street tell me casually, I worry, although I can’t speak for my Mom, the eternal optimist.

Dead End Kids: Unemployment for people aged 16 to 24 is disastrous. Mom and Dad … remember the recession is over. And can I have some gas money?

The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time.

And worse, without a clear economic recovery plan aimed at creating entry-level jobs, the odds of many of these young adults — aged 16 to 24, excluding students — getting a job and moving out of their parents’ houses are long. Young workers have been among the hardest hit during the current recession — in which a total of 9.5 million jobs have been lost.

Home Sales Fall … Again: I know, I know … the recession is over. How’s that tax credit working out for you?

First-time buyers accounted for about 30% of sales in July and August, Yun said.

Without an extension of the taxpayer subsidy, the housing market could fall into a “double-dip” downturn, Yun said, which would stall the overall economic recovery.

Durbale Goods Down 2.4%: That’s manufacturing … blue collar jobs.

Durable goods orders are a leading indicator of manufacturing activity, which in turn provides a good measure for overall business health. U.S. stock index futures fell on the report, while government bond prices rose.

“This is a bit of a reality check for people. It means there is more to be done and we are not out of the woods yet,” said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at Channel Capital in Shrewsbury, N.J.

Fresh Bank Bailouts: Small banks this time. But not a good sign for an economy that depends on lending, especially the lending power that small banks provide small businesses. It also doesn’t say much for “the recession is over”.

Geithner has trumpeted the end of some emergency financial programs as signs the economy is recovering. The department expects to see tens of billions of dollars in additional repayments to the fund in coming months.

But Doyle said FDIC officials still expect up to 150 bank failures this year. So far, 95 banks have been closed. That’s the most since 1992, during the savings-and-loan crisis.

Large Bank Loan Losses Tripple to $53 billion: Remember the recession is over, it’s just the engine that will drive us out is still pretty sick.

According to an annual report released by the four federal bank-regulatory agencies on Thursday, credit quality deteriorated to record levels this year.

The report said total identified losses of $53.3 billion in 2009 surpassed last year’s total of $2.6 billion, and nearly tripled the previous peak in 2002, when losses totaled $19.1 billion.

“While we expected a year-over-year increase in problem assets, given the weak economic environment, declining (commercial real estate) values, and previously weak underwriting, we were surprised by the magnitude of the increase,” wrote FBR Capital Markets analyst Scott Valentin in a research note to clients Friday.

With new figures coming out this week on jobs and housing, all of this could change. But not likely. If the stimulus was meant to jump start the economy then it has failed. If it was meant to simply grow government azt the expense of the private sector (which is precisely what it was meant to do) … that’s something Americans needed to know.

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Jim Vicevich

Jim is a veteran broadcaster and conservative/libertarian blogger with more than 25 years experience in TV and radio. Jim's was the long-term host of The Jim Vicevich Show on WTIC 1080 in Hartford from 2004 through 2019. Prior to radio, Jim worked as a business and financial reporter for NBC30 - the NBC owned TV station in Hartford - and as business editor at WFSB-TV in Hartford for 14 years while earning six Emmy nominations and three Telly Awards.

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