Quantitative Easing 2, or QE2 for short, is in Federal Reserve plans to help the struggling economy. Economist Nariman Behravesh of Lexington-based IHS Global Insight said that thanks to Quantitative Easing 2, business optimism rose in recent weeks.

Under QE2 – which the Fed officially announced Wednesday – the central bank will buy $600 billion of Treasury and mortgage bonds to drive down long-term interest rates and spark growth.

A “QE1” plan in 2009 helped lower mortgage rates, giving the ailing U.S. housing market a boost.

The U.S. economy saw robust job creation for the first time in five months during October – and experts believe the long-depressed labor market might have finally turned the corner.

“We’re starting to see the light at the end of tunnel in terms of job growth,” Behravesh of Lexington-based IHS Global Insight said after the U.S. Labor Department reported the economy added 151,000 non-farm jobs last month.

That’s the best showing since May, as well as double what economists had expected.

Even better, all of the job gains came in the private sector, which created 159,000 positions last month. That more than offset the 8,000 government jobs eliminated during October.

Behravesh said private employers have added at least 100,000 jobs for four straight months – a sharp contrast from early 2010, when most employment gains involved government agencies.

Now, he and other economists see private-sector hiring taking center stage, with companies adding workers as business confidence improves.

“The report confirms the economy is regaining momentum and provides an encouraging signal of business confidence,” economist Aaron Smith of Moody’s Analytics told Reuters.

Despite the positive news about job creation, the Labor Department also reported yesterday that the U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6 percent in October.

Behravesh expects the jobless rate to stay above 6 percent until mid-2015, given that the nation lost some 8 million jobs during the Great Recession.

Economists also say that people who gave up seeking employment during the recession might soon resume their searches, diluting the impact of any job creation.

“There’s no question that the jobless rate will be coming down very slowly,” Behravesh said.

Yesterday’s report sharply contrasted with figures released two weeks ago that showed Massachusetts lost 20,900 jobs during September.

However, Behravesh called those numbers “a bit of a fluke,” noting that Bay State joblessness generally runs about 1 percentage point below the national average.

“I wouldn’t extrapolate the drop we saw in Massachusetts as saying, `Uh, oh – the nation is going one way and we’re going the other,’ ” he said.

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Source:thirdage.com

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