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Year Six and Counting

This Friday will bring another employment situation report, and expectations are for another addition of 248,000 jobs with the unemployment rate expected to hold steady near 5.5%.

To put the progress in perspective, we thought we would use this week’s News You Can Use to lay on the table a simple overview of the economic progress made to date.  We are now six years beyond the deepest recession since the Great Depression, and we are beyond the recovery phase and into the expansion phase.  Although we’ve seen some slippage in the data of late, the broader picture is worth considering, too.  To illustrate, we’ve put together the table below highlighting various aspects of the economy and markets showing where we stand on key measures versus the second quarter of 2009, when the economy hit bottom.

Gross domestic product is over two trillion greater than where it stood during the recession.  Corporate earnings and dividends have ballooned.  Employment rolls are filling and the unemployment rate is down considerably.  Lower fuel costs and accelerating personal income trends are helping to drive domestic sales increases.  This is a very good outcome compared with where we were just a few short years ago.  There are more people trying to get a job and the workforce is again growing.  Through January, the U.S. labor force expanded by 2% over the same period a year ago.  Productivity is growing modestly.  The U.S. dollar is again a sought-after currency given stronger growth and potentially firmer monetary policies.

Here is a short “scorecard” on the U.S. economy’s performance over the past six years.

Recovery Scorecard

 Recession BottomNow
Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Bureau of Labor Statistics; Standard & Poors; Bloomberg
U.S. Stock Market Value ($Millions)$10,900$24,800
Gross Domestic Product ($Millions)$14,355$16,295
Employment (Millions People)130.9141.1
Unemployment Rate9.30%5.70%
Work Force (Millions People)140148.3
Productivity (Annual Growth)2.70%1.90%
Personal Income ($Trillions)$9.90$11.50
S&P 500 Earnings (EPS)$45.60$112.90
S&P 500 Sales (SPS)$890$1,147
S&P 500 Dividends (DPS)$21.65$41.23
Gasoline ($ / Gal)$2.63$2.43
Dollar Index80.197.4
Gold ($ / Ounce)$926$1,213