As reported this morning on NPR, former Federal Reserve Chairmain Alan Greenspan opined during an interview yesterday on “Meet the Press” that the recovery is currently “in a pause” and went on to predict that there would be no substantial employment improvements for the rest of this year. With unemployment still stuck at about 9.5 percent this isn’t good news, either for the economy in general or the IT sector in particular.
By definition, we seem embroiled in what’s known as a “jobless recovery” — namely, a period of (usually modest or slight) economic growth where levels of employment either stay the same or decrease overall. If you look at the numbers for the last year, and accept that what Greenspan has also called a “technical recovery” is underway, the number line for unemployment fits that definition to a “T” (take a look at this chart from forecasts.org from July 2009 to August 2010 and you’ll see it confirmed throughout that period).
Thus my recurring mantra “Stay put. Be calm. Watch Out!” remains current, however much I might wish for more tangible signs of improvement or the kind of recovery that would boost hiring, increase capital spending, and open consumer’s checkbooks a little wider. All we can do, apparently, is to hang on and wait for things to improve some time next year. This makes Friday’s July employment situation report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics a point of some interest as well. We’ll see!