Survey: Is the U.S. economy on the rebound?

The WSJ Question of the Day: Is the U.S. economy on the rebound?

Us_question

I need to contextualize this, as I am not sure what this means:

Is this a contrary signal, suggesting the worst is behind us?

Or, are these WSJ readers more sophisticated than the typical survey respondents/magazine editors, and as such, have less contrarian value?

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Note that the vote total is still low — I’ll revisit this later in the day . . .

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Steve Barry commented on May 19

    It is contrarian…almost everyone is wrong…a Depression is coming…a Global Synchronized Bust that naturally follows the Global Synchronized Boom. The “Yes” and “soon” voters are wrong and the “won’t be for awhile” voters mostly have no clue how bad it will get.

  2. Don commented on May 19

    It’s really pretty close to 50/50 as to whether the economy will rebound (47 % say its on the rebound or will be soon – 53% disagree) so there is nothing here to be contrary to.

  3. Tom F. commented on May 19

    Here are my questions:
    What is the point in all this mindless contrarian analysis? Should we look at the green bar and say to ourselves “I see what my lyin’ eyes are telling me, but my gut sez it’s blue.” This is sheer idiocy. If the economy is in the crapper what got it in there? What pulls it out? Manufacturing? More useless, crooked financial engineering crap? Manufacturing is the true wealth of a nation and we’ve pissed away just about all the good stuff we had to Mexico and China.
    So what is really left to work with?

  4. cinefoz commented on May 19

    It’s spot on right. The market is whistling while it is walking past the cemetery. Oil and other commodity price are choking the life slowly out of the economy. Nobody will do well, only the decline is going to be slow in real terms.

    The markets are reflecting

    * gullibility for sales pitches

    * ignorant analysis that ignores why money flows as it does

    * magical happenings in the belief that commodity prices will fall on their own just because they are rising ‘inexplicably’ now

    *disconnects with people and their income and how / why they spend

    * incompetent financial reporting that cherry picks the pleasant factoids from the rest of the story, giving an impression of happy days instead of sinking malaise. (nice rhyme, huh?)

    * Willingness of market participants to happily cherry pick the factoids from the entire picture.

    * A halfwit belief that ‘exceed expectations’ means the same as ‘did really fucking well’ while ignoring the fact that a lot of expectations are only a couple of quarters away from floating in the sewer with feces.

    If commodity prices were not on fire, I would be saying the opposite. The market would be in slow recovery.

  5. Banker commented on May 19

    I certainly think that we are on the brink of a recovery. Commodity prices are what is holding us up. They break (maybe with the help of a stronger dollar) and we will be in a steady, but slow grind to recovery.

  6. Steve Barry commented on May 19

    The very question tells me no recovery…my favorite indicator, 10 day total put/call is down to .85 today…very low and of course I posted the massive Euphoric level on the Citigroup Euphoria/Panic Model yesterday…nobody cared, as I would expect with so much complacency.

  7. Mr. Obvious commented on May 19

    IMO, there is absolutely no way that the econcomy can “recover” while gas prices at the pump continue to rise on a daily basis.

    J6P is struggling to fill the tank, and I can only imagine that industry execs are lying awake at night facing the dilema of either jacking up their prices or deal with lower margins.

    The comes a point when J6P doesn’t care that plasma TVs are selling for $500, because his paycheck is going towards gas and food. As I hear more and more people stressing over whether to sell their SUV or truck, I think we are getting to that tipping point.

  8. cinefoz commented on May 19

    Steve Barry,

    I just looked at the Euphoria Index. It reflects some really off the wall thinking on the part of people putting money in the markets. The higher the market goes up, the more severe and rapid will be the fall. How long will this be from now? It’ll be straight down and fast. If it goes up much more, there will probably be a respectable overshoot.

    I suspect denial will make it bounce back even higher fairly fast. CHA CHING! This time I won’t underestimate the depths of stupidity powering the next run up.

  9. bluestatedon commented on May 19

    I can’t help but notice that the percentage of those who think the economy is on the rebound is essentially the same number as for those who think Bush is doing a good job. I’m curious about the connection between political views and opinions about how well or poorly the economy is doing. I’d bet that the vast majority of those who are Bush critics are more inclined to view the economy in negative terms, while those who still think Bush is doing a good job are far more optimistic. Conversely, I’d bet that the number of Bush fans who are pessimistic about the economy are very few and far between. Are we looking at “faith-based” economics?

  10. Jodie commented on May 19

    This could very well end up being the most discussed recession that never was.

  11. Camille commented on May 19

    Talking about a recovery at this point is, at best, premature as we’re still waiting to see where energy prices stabilize, not to mention the purchasing power of the US dollar. I think the survey reflects the prevailing “it will fix itself and it’s business as usual from here on forward” attitude on so many issues facing our nation. I expect energy prices to continue to rise until we consume significantly less here in the us. I don’t expect the purchasing power of the US dollar to improve much until we change how we accumulate debt.

  12. Steve Barry commented on May 19

    Bluestatedon:

    I think you are onto something. I am on record as saying that if the dems win the White House, Kudlow is going to turn from Free Market Optimist Larry to Tinfoil Hat Larry in a nanosecond.

  13. gregh commented on May 19

    does this include votes from foreign speculators?

  14. Darkness commented on May 19

    >IMO, there is absolutely no way that the econcomy can “recover” while gas prices at the pump continue to rise on a daily basis.

    I don’t know about that. Large, entrenched systems are incapable of change until a crisis forces them to. High gas prices are an opportunity to change over to nuclear power and all electric cars. If we grab that opportunity rather than waiting for Asia to sell us these things, at their leisure, then we can recover nicely.

    What we’re really about to test is whether our political wherewithall as been mostly pissed to the wind (and therefore subject to will of the people if the people wake up for a minute or two) or completely sacrificed to the profits of a few who will die holding onto it (maybe hopeless). The upcoming upheaval is not a business test, it’s a political system test. Business follows opportunity, that doesn’t need to be dictated, but leadership is required to shift national level priorities by tweaking risk and reward (steer the great ship of state).

  15. Goldilocksisableachblonde commented on May 19

    Steve Barry :

    I agree with your Kudlow prediction but disagree on the timing.

    Once the presidential race polling is reduced to just two candidates – Obama and McCain – the polling results will likely begin showing a growing advantage for the Dems , and Obama over McCain in particular.

    This will be Kudlow’s opportunity to go negative.

    He can’t afford to wait until the election because the economic downturn will be impossible to disguise by then , and the whole idea is to shift the blame from the policies of the past to the policies of the future.

  16. bluestatedon commented on May 19

    “if the dems win the White House, Kudlow is going to turn from Free Market Optimist Larry to Tinfoil Hat Larry in a nanosecond.”

    Yup. Within 20 minutes of Obama’s (or Hillary’s) oath of office, the GOP will issue a press release decrying the Obama Housing Collapse or the Clinton Credit Implosion. You can also expect within the next 30 days the GOP campaign assertion that all of our economic problems stem from the Democratic takeover of Congress in ’06.

  17. DavidB commented on May 19

    This is sheer idiocy. If the economy is in the crapper what got it in there? What pulls it out?

    Posted by: Tom F. | May 19, 2008 10:55:20 AM

    Debt elimination. This whole mess is a debt-slavery mess. It is time people got back on sound financial footing. When the American public renounces debt they will be on the road to slow long and steady recovery….just like their grandparents after the depression. Until then, until they learn, it is still crazy time in America

  18. AGG commented on May 19

    Jodie,
    You remind me of someone who posted Republican apologist views at the Next Hurrah Blog. That person’s name was also Jodie. Shall I tell emptywheel that you have moved on?
    bluestatedon,
    About that 28%, I had the same thought. Then again, there’s always people who reflexively say the most positive thing thay can think of when asked, “How’s it going?”. T. Boone Pickens knows how it’s going. He just pumped 2 billion more into buying more wind turbines for his Texas energy farm. When someone backs up his words with money, then you can believe his opinion.

  19. Jodie commented on May 19

    AGG,

    I frankly don’t know what you are talking about, but thanks for reading and responding to my post.

  20. Tim commented on May 19

    Out of 20 comments above 18 think we are a long way from a recovery. That is a good contrarian indicator!

  21. Alex commented on May 19

    Ok, is there anyone here who can tell me the facts behind the “cusp of a recovery” mantra? I really want to see it. But what I see instead is a consumer in a terrible mood, no help from home equity or reasonable sources of financing, no savings to draw upon. And we have practically every financial instition closing the lending windows in practically every product. Residential and commercial real estate prices are falling like rocks, so a reverse wealth effect from that. Commodities soaring is obviously a problem. But even if those prices went down tomorrow, it would not help solve any of the other problems listed above.

    Just what exactly is recovering, getting us to recovery? No general…kinda sorta feels like. What exactly? Anyone?

    Folks, economic activity is not just a market sentiment thing. We can’t just FEEL GOOD about things, and all our troubles disappear. So what is the really good news, that is going to power us past the problems above?

  22. Winston Munn commented on May 19

    “Just what exactly is recovering, getting us to recovery? No general…kinda sorta feels like. What exactly? Anyone?”

    We don’t have to hold onto our bad paper anymore and take the losses – we can trade it to the Fed for treasuries. And we don’t even have to be a bank to do it.

  23. Greg0658 commented on May 19

    Bluestatedon and darkness
    I hear what your saying and think a list of BushCo policy beneficiarys is in order

    oil & gas producers
    weapons industry
    security industry (incl. high def tv)
    data-mining industry
    soldiers (who survive the war in tact)
    private soldiers and contractors (wstwit)
    mega disaster cleanup industry
    very high level financial players

    and early owners of the above stocks

  24. Greg0658 commented on May 19

    all the “winners” … but include the real estate agents, the mortgage agents, bankers, etc.

    Hmmm, includes many of those employees that took big bonuses too.

    Posted by: wnsrfr | May 19, 2008 11:02:15 AM

  25. Jim commented on May 20

    Winston, so since the Fed will happily go bankrupt in order to save the rich from themselves, how do we buy puts on the Fed?

  26. Greg0658 commented on May 20

    Robert-
    I visited the BullBear site

    For fun I tally’d
    Bull count @ 20
    Bear count @ 41

    and your:
    TODAY’S THOUGHT
    Are we in a recession? A recession is defined as two quarters at below zero in Gross Domestic Product. Not so far.

    Why isn’t a recession defined as a NEGATIVE TRADE BALANCE? kiss.

    Heres another one-liner;
    Complicate it, slow down, remember job security.

  27. Jenn.Flan commented on May 20

    Whatever Americans think (whether the U.S. economy is on rebound or on the threshold of a depression), foreigners have already made up their minds. In March, foreign investors have taken $48.2 billion out of the USA by selling short-term assets. I guess they were scared not simply of the Bear Stearns situation, but of some more serious fears regarding the U.S. economy’s future.

  28. foo commented on May 20

    As noted above, without the Bush 28, the Yes column would disappear.

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