Friday, September 25, 2009

A Look At Getting Better/Getting Worse Numbers

The above chart is from It is a combination of all the big polls regarding how people feel about the economy. This is one of the first polls that caught my eye back in the late spring. I hadn't looked at it since the election. When I saw the then big swing between March and May I was very surprised. This occurred at the same time we were seeing a dip in the 4-week moving average of initial unemployment claims. These two factors were what first convinced me the economy was bottoming out.

The above chart shows two trends. The first occurs from March to May and shows an increase from 10% to 25% of respondents who said the economy was getting better. The second goes from mid-July to now that shows a more gradual increase from 25% to about 35%. Conversely, the number of people who said things are getting worse decreased from 70% to 50% in the March to May period and the number again decreased another 5% to 45% in the July to current period.

These numbers are not stellar. However, they do track with the rest of the economic numbers that we are seeing which show a clear bottoming in economic activity. It's also important to remember a very important point: the US economy is not going to turn around in one day -- or even a year. We went through the worst economic shock since the Great Depression; something of that magnitude does not lead to quick recovery. But, things are definitely on the right track now.