In today's economy we have to take our victories in small doses. Last Friday the unemployment number was down as a result of more people working. The hook in the number was that many of the people had to take part time jobs. This is how the system works, first you look for a comparable job to the one you lost but eventually you must face reality and start to rebuild your career somewhere even if it is part time, seasonal or temporary. I believe most people like to work and feel productive and they would rather be doing something than sitting idle. It never made any sense to me when politicians talk about how people are living this wonderful life on food stamps and unemployment checks.
The housing market is showing signs of not being completely dormant. The foreclosure rate is dropping. Again a small victory. The Federal Reserve has been throwing low interest rates at the real estate market for four years now and if we didn't see some signs of life by now there would be no hope for the economy.
In 2009 I said that if you believe the current slump should be dated from 2007 we as a country would be fortunate to emerge from it in 10 years. I still believe that to be true. We have made some progress, the fact that we opted for stimulus initially gives us a better chance than Europe to correct our macro imbalances in the future, but I think we still have a ways to go. The next administration will be faced with a difficult set of choices comparable to the ones the current administration faced their first day in office. I hope that whoever is elected decides to play in the real world and not some gated community of economy fantasy that seems to be a large part of campaign rhetoric.