Economy Not Getting Better
As Brad DeLong shows, the economic data today shows an economy that isn't doing all that well.
But I think the real problem isn't what the economy is doing today, but what it will be doing in 6 months or 12 months or 6 years. It is utterly clear that states are in disastrous financial condition, so the mass of layoffs that are coming will put more pressure on the shrinking job market. The unemployed who "disappeared" from the unemployment stats include all those who "lost" their unemployment benefits because there was no extension for the long-term unemployed. They are no longer counted in the statistics. And the number of people underemployed -- working in marginal jobs (temp work, low pay) -- are increasing.
We are looking at a lost decade (if not longer) where Americans can no longer expect to see a better future for themselves or their children if they only are willing to work hard and play by the rules. Meanwhile, the powers that be think this is a fine state of affairs and all we have to do is bleed the patient more and eventually they will get better. And I say, maybe so, if they don't bleed to death before then.