Yesterday, stock markets hit multi-months highs, erasing this year's losses. Today, Fed chairman Bernanke said he expects growth in 2009.
Ok, so there are definitely signs now, very early ones, that things have bottomed and stabilized, and that at least the rate of economic decline has lessened. Stock markets are forward looking and are reacting to that, but that shouldn't fool people into thinking we're about to find ourselves in a period of booming economic growth.
Stock markets are interested in the corporations, not in the people. Corporations start doing better also because they fire so many people. So, in fact, long after the recession is officially declared over, people will continue to suffer. Unemployment will likely continue to grow and peak a quarter or two after the recession is over.
So I find myself, as someone many would consider as socialist at the least (albeit a realistic one), in a bit of a conundrum here. As a financial writer and stock holder I cheer the market rally, adding to the positive sentiment. But at the same time I know so many who have lost their jobs and can't ignore the reality I live in. I hope that reality will change soon, but I seriously doubt that.
So no, the recession ain't over yet, and worse, the labour situation will get even worse before it starts getting better, and more people and families will continue to lose their homes, and delis will continue to accept food stamps.
But, hey, markets are up ...