The latest federal jobs numbers that reported the creation of more than 250,000 jobs in one month indicates the economy is on a fast rebound.
University of Central Florida economist Sean Snatih, however, says we shouldn’t fall for the economic “selfie” to tell us the whole story.
Snaith is referring to the social-media practice of posting an image you take of yourself on Facebook or other media channels. You post the photo that captures your best angle ignoring anything out of the frame that might tell you the real story of what is happening, Snaith said.
That’s exactly what media does when it picks up only one part of the economic recovery story, he said. While some of the recent jobs numbers are good, others are not so good, said Snaith, director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.
“So don’t fall for the selfie,” he said. “The selfie in many ways can be an act of deception, putting your best face forward, showing only the most flattering image possible of the taker using camera angles that obscure double chins or hide blemishes, choosing lighting that is most becoming, or masking other less-attractive qualities of the photographer. Too often it seems that we have been viewing the economic recovery that followed the Great Recession through a series of economic selfies and simply not seeing the complete picture of a recovery that has been the weakest since the Great Depression.”
In his latest economic forecast, Snaith notes that the economic recovery still has a long way to go before reaching pre-recession glory. And the clues are in the rest of the jobs numbers, if one looks outside the selfie frame.
For example, while the U.S. Labor Department’s latest jobs report showed that 288,000 new employees were added to business payrolls in April (the largest increase in payrolls since January 2012) it also had some darker news. The U.S. labor force in April declined by 806,000, the second-largest one-month contraction since October 2013 when it contracted by 848,000. Before that you must go back to June of 1981 to find a labor force contraction larger than the one this April. Keep in mind that June 1981 was one month before the second-worst recession since the Great Depression.
So while there is some good news for the recovery, it must be tempered with the rest of reality and not just the selfie, Snaith added.
For a complete look at Snaith’s forecast, click here.
Some highlights are:
Snaith is a national expert in economics, forecasting, market sizing and economic analysis who authors quarterly reports about the state of the economy. Bloomberg News has named Snaith as one of the country’s most accurate forecasters for his predictions about the Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rate, the Federal Funds rate.
Snaith also is a member of several national forecasting panels, including The Wall Street Journal Economic Forecasting Survey, CNNMoney.com’s survey of leading economists, the Associated Press Economy Survey, the National Association of Business Economics Quarterly Outlook Survey Panel, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Survey of Professional Forecasters, the Livingston Survey, Bloomberg U.S. Economic Indicator Survey, Reuters U.S. Economy Survey, and USA Today Economic Survey Panel.
The Institute for Economic Competitiveness strives to provide complete, accurate and timely national, state and regional forecasts and economic analyses. Through these analyses, the institute provides valuable resources to the public and private sectors for informed decision-making.