Weekly new unemployment drops again, looks as though 4 week rolling average of unemployment claims may have peaked, which often signals the end of the recession.
However, continued claims are still at a record high and the possibility of another "jobless recovery" is definitely out there. We could definitely see a Japan-like scenario for the next five years where interest rates stay crazy low and housing doesn't appreciate at all.
For those of us in the PNW the news is even a little worse. We were about 12-18 months behind the rest of the nation as most drank the "Can't happen here" kool-aid. Often in these cases an area does a bit of jogging to try to catch up, but never quite makes it. So I am going to put my amateur economic forecaster hat on here and make a few predictions.
1) 4 week unemployment average peaked 1-2 weeks ago. We will go ahead and say the nation is beginning it's recovery now. If we "jog to catch up" we likely are still 8-12 months behind the nation. which means
2) PNW recovery will begin early 2010 somewhere between December 2009 and March 2010.
Feel free to make your own prediction below, it will probably be every bit as accurate as half the economists' predictions out there.