I’ve focused the bulk of my attention on the continuing lousy labor market conditions and the evidence that improvement in said conditions is likely to be low. That said, it is worth emphasizing the point that growth appears to have returned and from now on the question is going to be “will things improve at an acceptable pace?” rather than “what’s the next disaster?”
Specifically, the latest edition of the Brookings MetroMonitor tells us that in some places output is back to pre-recession levels:
Six metro areas—Albuquerque, Austin, McAllen, San Antonio, Virginia Beach, and Washington, DC—had regained their pre-recession peak level of output by the third quarter. Just one metro area (McAllen) regained its pre-recession peak employment level. No metropolitan area had a lower unemployment rate in September than it did one year earlier, though increases over that period ranged widely, from a little over 1 percentage point to more than 8 percentage points.
Unfortunately, it probably bodes ill for the country that the DC area is near the front of the pack. That’s going to distance people, psychologically, from the continuing bad conditions in most of the country. Not sure if there’s a common thread uniting these places.