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by SixFigureStart | November 24, 2009


Looking for more evidence that the recession's hit bottom? The real recession, I mean—the one measured in complicated things like "number of jobs lost" and "ease of finding new employment" and "average time unemployed"—rather than, say, "technical economic indicators" or "quantitative easing."

If you are interested in the former category, you might like to know that a majority of respondents to a recent Vault poll—almost 75 percent—reported that they believe the job market to be no worse or in better shape than it was three months ago.

Of course, the data from the survey isn't all good: a quarter of respondents believe that the job market deteriorated further over the last three months, and their opinions are backed up by rising unemployment figures. And, even if the majority are correct, the figures suggest that we're not looking like we're going to be rocketing out of this thing with anything like the speed with which we entered it: hence the paltry representation in the "significantly better" camp.

The obvious advantage of comparing sentiment to actual unemployment numbers is that one can get a sense of what it's like out there right now for those who are actually looking. Sure, the unemployment figures are bad, but who hasn't heard the "lagging indicator" spiel about those? What we really need is a "leading indicator"—and short of a comprehensive index of open positions, the impressions of people in the trenches is as close as we're likely to get. For that reason, we're going to be running a version of that poll on a regular basis, to try and get ahead—or at least level with—what the job market is doing in real time.

For the time being, then, sentiment appears to indicate that the market is sitting flat, and perhaps even improving slightly. After the last 12 months in the employment market, that alone feels like reason to celebrate.

--Posted by Phil Stott,


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