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Can you feel the bottom yet?

Can you feel the bottom of this recession yet?According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Standards) the March job numbers showed a positive growth of 162,000 jobs.  There is “joy in Mudville,” to coin an old baseball term, if those numbers hold true as it just might be the first positive indicator of the economy since we dropped from the peak of the last cycle in December of 2007.

There are those who believe that the recent numbers, while positive, are not conclusive. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee (no, it is not an online dating service) met recently to determine whether the economy was at its lowest point and they concluded that while some of the indicators have turned positive, not enough have shown positive results to determine whether or when the bottom of the trough has occurred.  There is no question in the minds of most of the Construction Industry that we are in the bottom of the trough. The questions are, how wide is the trough? And when will we see more new projects?

When I talk to the general contractors and subs in the Houston commercial market, I am told that they are waiting for the uptick and few projects outside the government and public sectors are being bid against really stiff competition.  If we decide to wait out the cycle, when will we be on the expansion cycle again?

If you look historically at the peak to trough of the economic cycle in the 31 cycles from 1854-2001 the average is 17  months.  Assuming that the NBER definition is correct, the last peak was in December of 2007, then using the averages, the trough would have occurred in May of 2009, but we all agree that is not the case this time.

We are now in month 28 since the last peak. This “peak to trough” cycle is the longest since the 43 months of the Great Depression. I only hope that the recent job numbers signal the turn around that we so desperately need for the construction industry and for the economy as a whole.


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Anonymous's picture

1. More Border Patrol officers
2. More Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, worksite inspectors, document fraud investigators and drug-war agents
3. The "installation of high-tech ground sensors throughout the southern border and for equipping all border patrol officers with the technological capability to respond to activation of the ground sensors in the area they are patrolling."
4. More prosecution of drug smuggling, human trafficking and unauthorized border crossing
5. "[I]ncreases in the number of sport utility vehicles, helicopters, power boats, river boats, portable computers to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while inside of a border patrol vehicle, night vision equipment, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS), scope trucks, and Mobile Surveillance Systems (MSS)."
6. All prisoners will be checked for immigration status and deported if found to lack documentation.
7. DHS will "identify, investigate, and initiate removal proceedings" against folks who came here legally but didn't leave.
8. The bill would create "a broad-based registration program that requires all illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to come forward to register, be screened, and, if eligible, complete other requirements to earn legal status, including paying taxes

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