Economy Hitting New Peak—In Most Areas


by Bill Conerly

Source: Forbes

Total employment in the United States now exceeds the pre-recession level, so we have recovered as many jobs as were lost in the downturn. That got me to wondering how many other economic series have fully recovered. I ran through my incomplete list of major economic indicators, and here are the ones that have fully recovered. (Note that for some indicators, such as unemployment, full recovery means as low as before the recession, not as high.)

  • Personal income
  • Consumer spending
  • Proprietors' earnings
  • Retail sales
  • Industrial production
  • Merchant wholesaler sales
  • Median price new homes
  • Employment
  • Business capital spending (orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft)
  • Total business sales
  • Total inventories
  • U.S. exports
  • U.S. imports
  • Consumer prices
  • Average hourly earnings
  • Employee compensation (wages + benefits)
  • Oil price
  • Commodity prices (CRB index)
  • Stock market prices
  • Corporate profits
  • Labor productivity

Here are the indicators I track that have not fully recovered:

  • Unemployment rate
  • Quit rate
  • Job openings
  • Automobile sales
  • Consumer confidence & consumer sentiment
  • Purchasing managers index
  • Housing starts & permits
  • Single family new home sales
  • Existing home sales
  • Existing home prices
  • Lumber prices
  • Non-residential construction spending
  • Public construction spending
  • Chemical activity barometer
  • Small business confidence