Guess what? The trends in economic data show improvement

I hope you are all seated.

After months and years of feeling like an Oracle of Doom, I think I have some positives to relay. And Iíve been waiting to wander down from Delphi to spread the good word.

Donít get me wrong, through an economistís eyes, this has been a fascinating time. Many dissertations will be written about this period, asking questions such as:

Did the Fedís behavior prevent a second Great Depression?

How did liberalization of asset markets affect the recovery?

What role did the auto bailout play in mitigating or exacerbating, to listen to the GOP candidates, the Great Recession?

The list is endless.

Questions aside, I see light at the end of the tunnel Ė with caveats, of course.

Hiring is picking up, and the unemployment rate is falling, 8.3 percent nationally in January, almost 2 percentage points below its high in October 2009.

In La Plata County, it has fallen to 5.8 percent, and itís heading in the right direction.

The graph accompanying this column shows the relationship between La Plata County and U.S. unemployment rates, and you can see a close relationship with a 2 and 3 or so percentage point difference between the two.

While local unemployment remains the highest it has been in 15 years or so, there has been a marked improvement.

Real gross domestic product seems to be rebounding as well.

While we wonít know preliminary numbers for a couple of months, the signs look to be improving across the board and private hiring suggest an improving economy.

While it might be too soon to break out the champagne, recall there was some short-lived euphoria at this time last year, I do feel we have a slight tailwind. Robert ďTinoĒ Sonora is an associate professor of economics at Fort Lewis College and the director of the Office of Business and Economic Research at Fort Lewis College.