We have been reduced to cheering on the second derivative.
For those of you whose math is rusty, the first derivative is the change in unemployment. A negative number is actually a good thing, since it means unemployment has dropped. The second derivative measures how large the change in unemployment is.
These “green shoots” still mean that unemployment is rising, but it’s not rising as quickly. I’ve heard of turning a frown upside down, but this is ridiculous. The broad rate of unemployment (‘U6’) could easiily reach twenty percent. And with a big surge in ARM recasts coming, I’m afraid this modest increase is a blip, not a good sign.
Brad DeLong is right: we need another stimulus package.
Note: Umemployment figures are not the same as job-losses. The former is reported by workers, the latter by business owners. The pattern for both, right now, is similar, however.