Business

Economic roller-coaster not necessarily double-dip recession

Posted August 5, 2011

Economy
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— Although the stock market is churning investors' stomachs and unemployed workers are giving up looking for jobs out of frustration, some economists say the U.S. isn't falling back into a recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 61 points Friday after a free-fall Thursday led to a 512-point drop – it's biggest loss since December 2008. Jittery investors led to wild swings in the markets Friday, however, with uncertainty over the U.S. and European economies being weighed against a promising jobs report.

Hiring picked up slightly in July, and the national unemployment rate dipped from 9.2 to 9.1 percent. Employers added 117,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said, and the job figures of May and June also were revised higher.

Wanda Hunter found little comfort in the improved jobs picture. She lost her customer service job two years ago and is still looking for work.

"I didn't think it would be that long," said Hunter, 31, who recently earned a cosmetology degree in an effort to improve her chances of landing a job.

"(I went from) living in a house to homelessness, (from) having a car to not having a car," she said.

Campbell Harvey, a professor of international business at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, said the slight improvement in the national unemployment rate is deceiving, and he said the rate is closer to 11 percent.

"The number of employed people actually decreased (last month)," Harvey said. "The reason the rate dropped is people are dropping out of the workforce. They are discouraged."

Unemployment in North Carolina rose to 9.9 percent in June, while the Triangle rate jumped to 8.5 percent.

Recession Economic roller-coaster not necessarily double-dip recession

The economic uncertainty has weighed on the housing market.

In the first six months of this year, about 9,700 homes sold in the Triangle, down 17.3 percent from the first half of 2010, according to Triangle Multiple Listing Services. Homes for sale also are sitting on the market 23 percent longer than a year ago.

"You are hearing what is going on with Congress, and you hear what is going on with the economy. I think there is a sense that people say, 'Let's sit tight,'" said Eb Moore, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker/Howard Perry & Walston.

Moore said, however, that sales have been trending up in recent months and that home prices are holding steady.

Harvey said such signs of life lead him to discount talk of a double-dip recession.

"The economic growth is slowed but still positive. I think we need to take that into account," he said. "I do forecast very slow growth. So, it feels like we are still in recession when, technically, it has been over for quite a while."

The health care and manufacturing sectors added jobs, according to the Labor Department.

"Hiring is picking up," said Michael Lane, who places workers for Robert Half International in areas like accounting and technology.

"Companies are still choosy on who they bring along, but there is definitely more robust hiring," Lane said.

Hunter and other unemployed workers say they hope that continues.

"It seems like the run-around. It is hard to get a job," Donte Taborn said.

33 Comments

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  • Homesteader79 Aug 8, 11:56 a.m.

    It is in the Constitution that if the government fails us, the people have the right to change it (the government).

  • chevybelair57sd Aug 8, 11:13 a.m.

    This government keeps making excuses for their financially stupid policies and hope they can con us out of whats left of our money to take complete control of us. when will we see the light and get rid of ALL of them before we can no longer do so.

  • kermit60 Aug 8, 11:10 a.m.

    These politicians are like drug addicts. There addicted to our money. When they need more they just raise taxes to satisfy there habit. They only care about themselves. We are paying their habit and will pay the final price when we relive the great depression.

  • boneymaroney13 Aug 5, 7:59 p.m.

    We've let the Socialist Democrats and the Republications run things. Why not let the Tea Party try for a while? May get better!

  • flashsparks Aug 5, 7:59 p.m.

    "So you want to be Europe? You want to spend other peoples money. So what do you do when other peoples money is gone?"

    tommys5, Ever see those Dust Bowl photographs and the soup lines 300 people long from the 1930s? That's what happens, and that's exactly where people like geosol are taking us by electing people like Obama.

  • tommys5 Aug 5, 7:58 p.m.

    NC ????

  • boneymaroney13 Aug 5, 7:58 p.m.

    Nothing personsal GEOSOL - Just wake up and see there is No Hope and No Change with this administration. Just plenty of vacations and parties.

  • tommys5 Aug 5, 7:52 p.m.

    " no substance and you're taking America down with you and you don't care"

    So you want to be Europe? You want to spend other peoples money.
    So what do you do when other peoples money is gone?

  • wildervb Aug 5, 7:47 p.m.

    "Where? Where? Where is the drilling taking place? Maybe if this "happens" some of those offshore drillers and "rich corporate backers" will put some of these 9+% unemployed people back to work."

    There were a record number of oil wells operating in the US last year. They're drilling in many places.

  • boneymaroney13 Aug 5, 7:45 p.m.

    This pro-obama screener sure has a difficult time allowing anti-obama statements in. Hey, GEOSOL, George Bush is not the president, your clown and his circus are running this country. Get over it and get use to your hope and change!!!

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