On January 10 I wrote, on the Seeking Alpha site, an article titled “10 ‘Front and Center’ Problem Areas That Pose a Threat to the Economy.”
I would like to briefly update my thoughts on these “Problem Areas” as I continue to believe they are very important.
Three factors of the ten seem to be improving, and mildly at that. These three factors are state finances, unemployment and Ben Bernanke’s demeanor. All of the others have continued to visibly worsen.
With regard to unemployment, although from an “all things considered” standpoint the situation seems to have perhaps slightly improved, there are still severe problems, as seen both in various unemployment statistics as well as anecdotally. In this latter category, one sees wildly skewed ratios of job applicants to open positions at job fairs and the like. Along these lines, it was reported last Thursday that McDonald’s had over 1 million job applicants for the 62,000 jobs it recently took applications for.
With regard to Ben Bernanke’s public demeanor improving, while this is notable, I certainly wouldn’t assign it as much importance as the other nine factors.
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation
SPX at 1366.54 as this post is written