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Hopeful Signs, Just Not At The Pump Or On Main Street

In case you haven’t notice, energy prices are up. Some of this is the result of a weaker dollar. But a lot of this is the result of an increase in consumption. Gasoline inventories are down and Saudi Arabia’s call for $70 to $75 dollar oil appears to be a target price for years, not just weeks or months.

While the weaker dollar impacts oil prices, it provides a positive outlook for exporters who should benefit from a lower dollar in the coming months.

Housing appears to be close to a bottom and hopefully the worst is over for a beaten industry. Consumers are still very cautious, they are not buying cars and savings continue to rise. Most of the latest surveys indicate that the consumer feels better about the future, but that may not translate into sales until later this fall.

On the downside, ADP reports that businesses with fewer than 500 employees dropped four times as many jobs as larger businesses did last month. With consumer spending down and continued tight credit, small businesses that might otherwise be growing are still having to cut back and cut staff.

It looks like the economy may not be in recovery mode yet, but the recession is definitely moderating. Employment growth will probably lag for most of this year particularly for small businesses. But the consumer should be back soon and that would be welcome news to everyone including those who own businesses on Main Street.