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Leap Year Bookends

By February 10, 2012Newsletters

Over the last several years, many economists and analytical types have been pouring over data looking for clues as to when the US economy is going to begin to right itself. We, too, have spent many hours running various socio, political and economic scenarios, only to have so-called “black swan” events occur with regularity, forcing nascent trends off track. We are running low on logic and our only remaining explanation is that there is a mystical force at work, and perhaps that mysticism is oriented around leap years.

Our economy headed south in 2008, which was the last leap year in the Gregorian calendar, and we return again to a leap year in 2012, with an economy that seems to be mending and trending upward. Could February 29, 2008 and 2012 provide the opening and closing bookends to our economic malaise?

With the 2012 leap year in play, will we experience a leap forward in key economic indicators as trends on growth and employment improve? Indeed, looking at the unemployment rates over the past few years, we see a steady downward trend beginning to form, particularly over the past few months. Similarly, industrial production rose at an annual rate of 3.1% in the fourth quarter of 2011, its 10th consecutive quarterly gain.

At CMF, we see sustained evidence in our M&A, interim CFO and financial recruiting practices that unemployment will continue to be driven downward and industrial production driven upward, albeit at a gradual pace, and maybe the 2012 leap year foreshadows four years of continued growth.

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