Tragedy trumps economic stats every time, and we’ve had plenty of it in North Alabama recently. In the midst of our grief, though, there are more signs that the nation is steering away from a depression.
Locally, we can celebrate Wells Fargo’s announcement today that it expects record net income this quarter. Wall Street loved it, and the holding company attributed much of the gain to its acquisition of Wachovia, which has branches in Decatur and Hartselle. Wells Fargo’s statement that lending activity has been brisk is especially promising, as it could foreshadow an uptick in consumer demand.
The weekly unemployment report also presented good news today. In the week ending April 4, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 654,000, a decrease of 20,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 674,000. The 4-week moving average was 657,250, a decrease of 750 from the previous week’s revised average of 658,000.
On the downside, 3M is offering buyouts after already laying off a remarkable percentage of its workforce. After a couple days of immersion in tragedy, however, I think I’ll focus on economic positives.