Tea leaves, anecdotes, surveys of economists and Chauncey Gardiner

Last week, I was talking with someone who runs a company with a service primarily sold through an out-bound phone sales effort targeting decision makers at small and medium size wholesale businesses. He told me he thought the economy turned-around on March 10. “Why such a precise date?” I asked. “Because that’s when our salespeople started being told, “yes,” instead of, “no.”

I’m sure I could ask someone who runs a business in another field and get another opinion, but such are the anecdotes that lead one to believe an economy the size and complexity of the U.S.’s can shift from apocalypse to growth with precision.

This morning, a Reuters story reports that a “survey of top forecasters” (Do economists do something other than respond to surveys?) reveals that economic growth will resume in the third quarter of this year, which, according to the calendar on my iPhone, starts in about three weeks. According to the economists, “The economic downturn is expected to ease in the second quarter of this year.” (The economists didn’t give a precise date for when the easing began, but I’m guessing it was March 10.)

If “blue ribbon panels” of economists and the person I know who declared March 10th as the end of the recession are correct, you can expect me to declare sometime in the future that I am correct in suggesting that the only economist ever worth listening to is Chauncey Gardiner.