Big Red Car here. Hey it was 72F yesterday. The Boss took a long, long walk in shorts and a tee shirt around Town Lake (the damn Lab tripped him and he went down hard but executed a paratrooper three point landing, so nothing broken — that Lab is in big trouble). That Lab is dumber than dirt. Sorry, Bella.
So the economy is generally pretty lousy in the United States but the United States is not a monolithic economy. There are regional economies which are more or less reflective of the overall view.
Austin, By God Texas
Austin, Texas — Central Texas — is one such area which has fared a bit better than the average bear. It didn’t get as bad when things were at rock bottom and it’s doing a bit better now that things are supposedly getting better. The Big Red Car thinks that much of the supposed recovered is pure baloney.
The streets are certainly not paved in gold — they were once — but we can see a bit of a hot dog in our pot of beans. First hot dog, then filet mignon. But always a bit of barbecue, ya’ll.
Austin is currently (Dec 2013) showing a steadily decreasing unemployment rate and a 4.5% level of unemployment. That is with no labor force participation rate shenanigans.
Here is something you will not see everywhere in the United States.
This is a Help Wanted sign at the local Cafe Express. They are starting folks at $11/hour plus benefits.
We will know the economy is really recovering when you see a lot more signs like this. Incidentally, there was a similar sign at Mighty Fine Burgers and they were also offering $11/hour.
I will not belabor the fact that the governing philosophy of Texas — low levels of regulation, no government intervention, no personal income taxes, a coherent energy policy — contributes mightily to its success.
Austin is not even the brightest star in the Texas firmament. Midland — Oil Patch, ya’ll — is showing 2.8% unemployment. Remember we’re experiencing an oil boom — exploration, fracking, horizontal drilling — in the Lone Star. Still 2.8% is tighter than a tick and is full employment. You need a job — consider moving to Midland, Texas.
You can see all the Texas Data on unemployment here. It is enlightening.