Recession over? Really?

So I wanted to try to spark some discussion on the blog today. I do a lot of lighthearted stuff here but I wanted to see if there was any interest in something with a bit more bite every once and a while. The recession is something that is effecting us all in some way. I get what the media is saying about it, but I want to know what you think. I’ve created a new category for “Your thoughts”. If this is successful, I’ll try to work in a post like this a couple times a month. Feel free to vent, but be respectful of others. No personal attacks.

I read a lot of news sources. Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more articles about the recession being over. The stock market is trending up. Consumer spending is up. Economists and Government officials are telling us that it’s over or should be by the end of the quarter. It’s time to have a party, right?

I’m not buying it. I’m not an economic expert, but I think the real measure that we are moving out of the recession is job growth or at least we stop losing jobs. We still lost 550,000 jobs last month. The official unemployment rate is about 9.5%. This doesn’t include the number of people who’s unemployment benefits have expired or those who have just stopped looking for work or those who are underemployed (those working part-time who would like full-time employment). Include those people and the unemployment rate jumps over 16%.

I’ve heard it said many times that a recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours. I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs and I live in one of the states where our unemployment rate is lower than the national average. We have been very fortunate to both be employed to the level we wish to be.

The Questions

How is the economy where you are? How is your “personal economy”?

Do you think the recession is over?

What factors must improve before you will start to believe that the recession is over? Is the the stock market? Seeing companies make money again? Jobs growth? Consumer spending? Credit flowing again?