Recession May Be Easing Up

Though many signs point to nothing but doom, doom, doom, some reports released yesterday say we may be at least close to the bottom, if nothing else.

First-time jobless benefit claims (as in, the number of people recently laid off applying for unemployment) fell more than expected for the second week in a row, and three big banks reported either a profit or losses less bad than predicted.

Housing construction (including apartments) is near a 50-year low, but the construction of single-family homes in March remained stable.

Goldman Sachs said this week that jobless claims usually peak “six to ten weeks before the end of recession,” so economists are watching unemployment numbers carefully. While jobless claims fell 8,500 in the past four weeks, economists are saying that a drop of more like 30,000 to 40,000 would signify a peak.

Sound reasonable to you? Are we close to the bottom yet?