The market has rallied. There's also been a string of better-than-expected economic reports. But the variable to keep an eye on, especially politically, is the unemployment rate. And that doesn't look so hot. Listen to Janet Yellen, president of the San Francisco Fed:
It’s true that the Blue Chip consensus shows moderate positive growth rates in output in the second half of this year. But even so, the level of the unemployment rate would still rise throughout 2009 and into 2010. So, in this sense, the worst of the recession is not expected to occur until next year. And, even by the end of 2011, I would expect the unemployment rate to be above its full-employment level. So I wouldn’t call this a particularly rosy scenario.
Or how about Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart:
A careful look at the international evidence on severe banking crises suggests a far more cautious assessment. The recessions that follow in the wake of big financial crises tend to last far longer than normal downturns, and to cause considerably more damage. If the United States follows the norm of recent crises, as it has until now, output may take four years to return to its pre-crisis level. Unemployment will continue to rise for three more years, reaching 11–12 percent in 2011.
Or how about the UCLA Anderson Forecast:
Nationwide, the unemployment rate will worsen -- peaking late next year at 10.5%. And in California, which has been battered by tumbling housing, retail and manufacturing sectors, the jobless rate will soar to 11.9% by mid-2010, the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast says.