It's been five years today since the economy went to crap, the Financial Times reports. While we'd like to say that so much has changed since then, a birthday is a birthday. So break out the cheap champagne (or tears, or something) and mull over these five reasons to have a little bit of hope.
- Fannie Mae says it doesn't need taxpayer money anymore. The infamous Fannie Mae mortgage company said yesterday that it's now making enough money to stay alive and make a $2.9 billion dividend repayment to the U.S. Treasury, Reuters reported. That's because of reason number two to celebrate.
- Housing prices are actually going back up. The price of homes in June rose the fourth consecutive year, according to data from analytics firm CoreLogic. It might be due to the underwater mortgages of others, as The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann wrote yesterday. But if prices continue to stabilize, people may be able to sell their houses with less outrageous loss.
- Jobless claims went down last week, meaning the number of first-time unemployed people went down, CNN reported. It's a week-to-week claim, so it'll be a while before economists will be ready to say this dip is for real. It is, however, the first small sign of fewer layoffs.
- Job openings were at a four-year high in June, Washington Post reported this week. It had some economists worrying that companies were simply keeping jobs open in light of economic uncertainty. But optimists took it at face value: This may mean companies will be hiring again in the next few months.
- The stock market is doing okay right now, suggesting that companies are doing well and that investors aren't feeling down on the economy. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is having its longest rally since March, Bloomberg wrote today. In fact, Bloomberg's data said that about 72 percent of S&P companies have beaten analyst estimates in recent earnings, meaning they've outperformed the market.
So while unemployment is still high at 8.2 percent, this slow recovery is still chugging along. Hopefully birthday number six will look even better.
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