Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan And Janet Yellen Of The San Francisco Fed Sound The Alarm On The Economy

Posted By on February 24, 2010

From the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Art Cashin talks about early week comments from Ex Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and SF Fed President Janet Yellen……….Not good, to say the least!  

  WASHINGTON — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Tuesday the U.S. economic recovery was “extremely unbalanced,” driven largely by high earners benefiting from recovering stock markets and large corporations.

Small businesses and the jobless are still suffering from the aftermath of a credit crunch that was “by far the greatest financial crisis, globally, ever” – including the 1930s Great Depression, said Mr. Greenspan in an address to a Credit Union National Association conference.

“It’s really an extraordinarily unbalanced system because we’re dealing with small businesses who are doing badly, small banks in trouble, and of course there is an extraordinarily large proportion of the unemployed in this country who have been out of work for more than six months and many more than a year,” said Mr. Greenspan, who headed the Fed from 1987 to 2006.

With both housing starts and auto sales “dead in the water,” he said he thought it would be difficult to make the case that the economy is poised for a strong rebound.

Traders were struck by Mr. G’s assertion that the financial crisis was worse than that of the Great Depression.  Wow!

Doubts From Yellen – In a speech Monday, Janet Yellen of the San Francisco Fed also sounded a bit downbeat on the economic rebound.  Here’s a key part of that speech:

Unfortunately, I’m not at all convinced that a V-shaped recovery is in the cards. That fourth-quarter leap in GDP overstates the underlying momentum of the economy. Much of it was due to a slowdown in the pace at which businesses were drawing down inventory stocks compared with earlier in the year. Less than half of the fourth-quarter growth reflected higher sales to customers. Those sales did grow, but at a lackluster 2.2 percent. It appears that businesses are getting their inventories closer in line with sales, which is a good thing. But such inventory adjustments can be a potent source of growth only for a few quarters. I’d feel much more confident about the prospect for a sustained robust recovery if I saw evidence of more vigorous growth in actual sales.

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