LC Bulletin: Profs: Economy sprouting legs

April 9, 2010. Retrieved online: April 9, 2010, from Gabriel Vasquez, Las Cruces Bulletin

Signs of life are returning to the local and national economy.

A jump in consumer confidence, positive reports in home prices and the first signs of job growth in about three years are making local economists optimistic about a possible return to financial stability.

“That (job growth) is really, really good news,” said New Mexico State University professor of economics Jim Peach.“This is the first time since the recession started that we’ve had genuinely significant job growth.”

The U.S. economy added about 160,000 jobs in the past month, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Peach, along with two other NMSU professors in the College of Business, gave an economic update Monday, April 5, as part of an informative series of forums created by the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and KRWG-TV.

Peach gave listeners an overview of the national economy.

“The good news that we’ve created 160,000 jobs needs to be tempered in the sense that we’ve still got a long way to get to the levels of the beginning of this recession,” he said. “If we add a couple hundred thousand new jobs per month, it would take about five months to create a million jobs. We need 8 million to get back to where we were. That’s 40 months from now.”

Peach predicts the next two to three months will bring even stronger job growth than February, largely due to the U.S. Census Bureau hiring more than 600,000 people to complete its decennial count.

…Local rebound

Chris Erickson, a professor of economics with a specialty in macroeconomics and monetary theory, spoke about the regional economy.

He said the state has been sluggish in recovering lost jobs and continues to face a deep recession.

…Stock stuffers

Ken Martin, a professor of finance and program director for NMSU’s Stock Market Game, said millions of dollars in money market funds are ready to provide more fuel for the stock market, making investors increasingly bullish in their share buying.

“Risk aversion has abated significantly,” he said.

Read the article.

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