I took a hiatus from all the depressing financial news that I was hearing and promulgating on this blog, hoping that the Christmas spirit, Obama's inauguration, and a little time would help us crawl out of our economic hole.
Not so much.
I mean, the weird thing is that some economic indicators, like the TED spread, and commercial paper (very, very short-term loans to businesses) are starting to look more favorable lately. In Austin, even the housing market is fairly strong, at least for used houses. But other events point in the opposite direction:
- foreclosures in the prime California market are up 81% from last year, 225% from 2006;
- major employers are shedding jobs (this is an international phenomenon);
- shipping rates are zero!
I am not exactly sure what to make of this, but I continue to be amazed by the number of people who claim each week that we have "officially hit bottom". I think we're a long way from bottom.
But that does not mean that I am hopeless or depressed. Just realistic. And despite everything, cautiously optimistic.