In recent months, a lot of job market news outlets have focused on the very slow rise of the job market. The unemployment rate has decreased slightly over the past couple of months and it seems as though hiring has picked up as less people apply for unemployment benefits. For the most part, outlets are focusing on optimism in the job market and the improvements we have made thus far.
In fact, Spark News is one of those outlets that has chosen to focus on optimism in the job market rather than pessimism. The Great Recession impacted our jobs, incomes, homes and everyday lives so much that for a while there was nothing but negative to report. So, it only seems fair that as things begin to pick up we would choose to focus on the better rather than the areas that still need vast improvement. However, we cannot forget that we still have a lot of work to do in order to return to our pre-recession levels. This was the general message Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered yesterday as he spoke to the House Financial Services Committee.
Straight-forward and abrupt, Bernanke made it known that there are still many things that are not up to par. He states that the unemployment rate is still elevated, log-term unemployment is still at record levels and the number of persons unhappily working part-time are still very high. The basic fundamentals that support spending are still very weak. In the housing industry, the affordability of homes has increased and the interest rates for mortgages are at historical lows. Unfortunately, buyers still lack the down payment funds needed and the credit history required for loan qualifications. On the other hand, those that may have the funds needed are reluctant to commit to buying a house since employment uncertainty is high and their income may be shaky.