"Labor market conditions improved in the latter part of 2011 and earlier this year. The unemployment rate has fallen about 1 percentage point since last August; and payroll employment increased 225,000 per month, on average, during the first three months of this year, up from about 150,000 jobs added per month in 2011. In April and May, however, the reported pace of job gains slowed to an average of 75,000 per month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent. This apparent slowing in the labor market may have been exaggerated by issues related to seasonal adjustment and the unusually warm weather this past winter. But it may also be the case that the larger gains seen late last year and early this year were associated with some catch-up in hiring on the part of employers who had pared their workforces aggressively during and just after the recession. If so, the deceleration in employment in recent months may indicate that this catch-up has largely been completed, and, consequently, that more-rapid gains in economic activity will be required to achieve significant further improvement in labor market conditions." -- Ben Bernanke
Did you get that? Never have so few, said so much, to say so little. The cause of the slowdown in the economy is warm winter weather. "Guys," the foreman says slowly, "I got some bad news, the plant is shutting down."
"But why," Jim asks?
"Well Jim," he answered wearily, "management thinks it's just too warm to run the plant. Plants and retail outlets all over America are shutting down because it's too gosh darn warm. Car washes, auto parts stores struggling to make it in the warm winter weather. Traffic at the nation's shopping malls is down and all I suppose, due to the warm winter weather?"
Banking and financial conditions in the United States have improved significantly since the depths of the crisis. Notably, recent stress tests conducted by the Federal Reserve of the balance sheets of the 19 largest U.S. bank holding companies showed that those firms have added about $300 billion to their capital since 2009; the tests also showed that, even in an extremely adverse hypothetical economic scenario, most of those firms would remain able to provide credit to U.S. households and businesses. Lending terms and standards have generally become less restrictive in recent quarters, although some borrowers, such as small businesses and (as already noted) potential homebuyers with less-than-perfect credit, still report difficulties in obtaining loans. -- Ben Bernanke
"Banking and financial conditions in the United States have improved significantly since the depths of the crisis." Or, things have gotten much better since we put the fire out. It has almost a Stan Laurel quality to it. Though this is my favorite line, "even in an extremely adverse hypothetical economic scenario," I'll bet he was up half the night coming up with that line. Tell the truth, does it sound like something the captain of the Fukushima power station would say? And the answer is, "most". Most of those firms would still be able to supply credit but since they're not supplying credit now, they won't be supplying credit in the near future.