Obviously, it depends very much on whether the economy improves. What seems less clear is the deadline for improvement. Would an improvement by July, August, or possibly September show up in the Fall JFP? Or, barring that, will the stimulus bill help? I get the feeling that schools can be pretty sensitive to late-stage improvements. My dean appears to have several versions of the budget on his desk at any time: the good, ideal budget, and then a variety of contingency budgets for when there isn't enough money. That way, he (and my chair, and I) can operate on the assumption that the money will be there, and then cut stuff at the absolute last second--it's easier to cut stuff than it is to get it back after you cut it. I get the feeling that my job was saved by the stimulus bill.
Leiter pretty much called it in July last year. I thought he was crazy, but he hit the bullseye. His calculations appear to have been based on the prospects for retirement given a weak stock market last June. Things are not better now than they were last June. And to the extent that retirements affect the job market and the stock market affects retirements, the improvements would probably have to already have taken effect in order to see a bump in the job market by Fall. The late-stage actions I mentioned before wouldn't apply to potentially vacant tenure-lines; they would apply only to already-vacant tenure-lines. The more I think about it, the more I think that in order for the economic improvements to make a difference by Fall, they'd have to have already happened or be happening now. So we're screwed.
I second all that and just to add: two years from now everyone who put off going onto the market next year will be coming out. But, don't worry about that flood because they won't have the teaching experience or pubs that the people fighting with the market now should have by then.
-- Second Suitor