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Good news and not-so-good news

Lately, a lot of folks have been jumping on the recession-is-over bandwagon. The crowd grew when the U.S. Department of Labor announced a few days ago that the economy shed only about a quarter of a million jobs in July, which is the lowest number of any month since last summer. Compare that with January and February, both of which saw more than half a million jobs lost. The good news? July’s numbers were better than most economists anticipated. The bad news? A quarter of a million jobs were still lost.

The same principle applies to today’s news from RealtyTrac, the California-based outfit that tracks foreclosure activity across the country. Mississippi had 813 homeowners on the business end of foreclosure activity in June — meaning they either got a notice of default, notice of auction or their bank repossessed their home. That figure dropped 41 percent in July, to 478. That’s encouraging, and could be hard evidence of at least a small degree of recovery. Now for the bad news: The 478 homeowners who encountered some sort of foreclosure activity in July marks a 152 percent increase from July 2008, and RealtyTrac’s outlook says that number will likely rise over the next six months.

It’s a little more than 24 hours until the weekend, however, and exactly three weeks until football season, so for now, I’ll choose to focus on the positive.

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