Is Recession Nearing Bottom?

There are new signs the recession could be near bottom. The signs shown on Thursday: Factory orders were up more than expected, and the Dow Jones industrial average swept over the 8,000 mark for the first time in two months.

A report from the Commerce Department showed orders for manufactured goods rose 1.8 percent in February, reversing six straight monthly declines, easily beating estimates of another drop. Other economic indicators that were better than expected this week were construction spending and pending home sales.

On Thursday the G-20 meeting in London of world leaders pledged $1.1 trillion to global institutions including the International Monetary Fund to fight the recession. The European Central Bank also announced it is cutting a key interest rate to a low of 1.25 percent.

Despite these positive signs, the job market is still bleak. In most recessions, the labor market doesn't pick up steam until the recovery has already started. The monthly unemployment report due out today from the Labor department is expected to be dreary; new jobless claims reported yesterday were worse than expected.

Labor Department's initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to a seasonally adjusted 669,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 657,000. The total was above analysts' expectations and the highest in more than 26 years, though the work force has grown by about half since then.

About the Author

Linda McGlasson

Linda McGlasson

Managing Editor

Linda McGlasson is a seasoned writer and editor with 20 years of experience in writing for corporations, business publications and newspapers. She has worked in the Financial Services industry for more than 12 years. Most recently Linda headed information security awareness and training and the Computer Incident Response Team for Securities Industry Automation Corporation (SIAC), a subsidiary of the NYSE Group (NYX). As part of her role she developed infosec policy, developed new awareness testing and led the company's incident response team. In the last two years she's been involved with the Financial Services Information Sharing Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), editing its quarterly member newsletter and identifying speakers for member meetings.

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