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Obama’s Economic Doldrums

- April 10, 2011

Trouble Signs Point To Continuing Struggles

For The Obama Economy

SOARING PRICES, A SLUMPING HOUSING MARKET AND PERSISTENTLY HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT ARE DRAGGING DOWN ECONOMIC GROWTH

The Latest “Jobs Report Has More Bad News Than Good News.” (Jeff Cox, “Jobs Report Has More Bad News Than Good News,” CNBC’s “Net Net” Blog, 5/6/11)

  • The Real Unemployment Rate Rose To 15.9 Percent.  “Another measure of unemployment rose as well: the so-called ‘real’ unemployment rate, which rose to 15.9 percent, up two-tenths from the prior month.” (Jeff Cox, “Jobs Report Has More Bad News Than Good News,” CNBC’s “Net Net” Blog, 5/6/11)
  • “Job Creation Barely Kept Up With The Expansion Of The Labor Force.” “In particular, the household survey, which is an actual head count, suggested that the job creation barely kept up with the expansion of the labor force.” (Jeff Cox, “Jobs Report Has More Bad News Than Good News,” CNBC’s “Net Net” Blog, 5/6/11)
  • The “Meager” Job Gains Can’t Make A Dent In The Ranks Of The Unemployed. “The U.S. economy has now created jobs for seven straight months, but the gains have been too meager to make much of dent in the pool of 13.7 million Americans out of work.” (“Job Creation Much Better Than Expected; Rate Hits 9%,”Reuters5/6/11)

Jobless Claims Surge To Eight-Month High In “Sign Of The Economy's Struggle In Creating Jobs.” “New claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly surged last week to their highest level since last summer, according to data giving another sign of the economy's struggle in creating jobs.” (Jeff Bater and Luca Di Leo, “Jobless Claims Surge,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/5/11)

  • Unemployment Claims Jumped By 43,000 To 474,000 Claims. “Initial unemployment claims increased by 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 474,000 in the week ended April 30, the Labor Department said Thursday in its weekly report.” (Jeff Bater and Luca Di Leo, “Jobless Claims Surge,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/5/11)

 “Gas Prices Are Surging And Are Approaching The 2008 Record High Of $4.11 A Gallon.” (Dennis Jacobe, “Americans' Economic Confidence Declines Further,” Gallup4/26/11)

  • “Food Prices Are Also Surging, And Jobs Remain A Major Economic Problem.” (Dennis Jacobe, “Americans' Economic Confidence Declines Further,” Gallup4/26/11)
  • Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index: “Consumer Confidence Dropped Last Week To The Lowest Level In More Than A Month As Rising Fuel Costs Squeezed American Household Budgets.” (Bob Willis, “Consumer Comfort In U.S. Falls On Surging Gas Prices,” Bloomberg, 5/5/11)

“Inflation Is Back, With Higher Prices For Food And Fuel Hammering American Consumers, And This Time It Really Hurts.” (Neil Irwin, “Inflation Inflicting Pain, As Wages Fail To Keep Pace With Price Hikes,” The Washington Post, 4/4/11)

  • Inflation Could Make The Weak Economy Even Weaker. “Today, raising interest rates might make a weak economy even weaker, stifling what meager growth there has been in wages.” (Neil Irwin, “Inflation Inflicting Pain, As Wages Fail To Keep Pace With Price Hikes,” The Washington Post, 4/4/11)
  • And Make The “Massive Budget Deficits” Even More Expensive. “Moreover, higher interest would make the nation’s massive budget deficits even more expensive to finance, taking an additional toll on the economy.” (Neil Irwin, “Inflation Inflicting Pain, As Wages Fail To Keep Pace With Price Hikes,” The Washington Post, 4/4/11)

“Home Values Posted The Largest Decline In The First Quarter Since Late 2008, Prompting Many Economists To Push Back Their Estimates Of When The Housing Market Will Hit A Bottom.” (Nick Timiraos, “Home Market Takes A Tumble,” The Wall Street Journal5/9/11)

  • Home Values Have Fallen Due To “An Abundance Of Foreclosed Homes.” “Home values fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter and 1.1% in March from the previous month, pushed down by an abundance of foreclosed homes on the market, according to data to be released Monday by real-estate website Zillow.com.” (Nick Timiraos, “Home Market Takes A Tumble,” The Wall Street Journal5/9/11)
  • “It's Official. Home Prices Have Double Dipped Nationwide, Now Lower Than Their March 2009 Trough, According To A New Report From Clear Capital.” (Diana Olick, “National Home Prices Double Dip,” CNBC, 5/5/11)

NFIB: “Hiring By Small Businesses Almost Ground To A Halt In April” “Hiring by small businesses almost ground to a halt in April after making gains in February and March, a survey published on Thursday showed, adding to expectations that Friday's national employment report will likely be weak. The National Federation of Independent Business said its survey of 1,985 businesses found that "twice as many owners released employees as increased employment" and the average number of net new jobs slipped to 0.04 from 0.17 per firm.” (Corbett B. Daly, “Small Business Job Creation Stalls In April: NFIB,” Reuters, 5/5/11)

“[U].S. Productivity Slowed In The First Quarter As The Economic Recovery Stumbled And Labor Costs Started To Rise Again.” (Jeff Bater and Luca Di Leo, “Jobless Claims Surge,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/5/11)

  • “Economic Growth Braked Sharply In The First Quarter As Higher Food And Gasoline Prices Dampened Consumer Spending And Sent Inflation Rising At Its Fastest Pace In 2-1/2 Years.” (Lucia Mutikani, “Economic Growth Slows, Inflation Surges,” Reuters4/28/11)

AMERICANS’ CONFIDENCE IN THE ECONOMY, AND IN OBAMA’S ABILITY TO MANAGE IT, ARE AT ALL TIME LOWS

“Gallup's Economic Confidence Index Dropped To -39 In The Week Ending April 24 -- A New Weekly Low For 2011.” (Dennis Jacobe, “Americans' Economic Confidence Declines Further,” Gallup4/26/11)

  • “Nearly Half Of Americans Rated Current Economic Conditions ‘Poor’ During The Week Ending April 24 -- The Highest Level Of Negativity On This Measure So Far This Year.” (Dennis Jacobe, “Americans' Economic Confidence Declines Further,” Gallup4/26/11)
  • Americans Have “Good Reason” For The Drop In Confidence. “Americans may have good reason to be less confident now than they were earlier this year.” (Dennis Jacobe, “Americans' Economic Confidence Declines Further,” Gallup4/26/11)

Almost 80 Percent Of Economists Are “Less Optimistic” About The Economy Than They Were A Few Months Ago. “Nearly eight in 10 economists say they’re less optimistic about the nation's economic outlook this year than they were three months ago and most call high energy prices the biggest threat to the recovery, according to a USA TODAY survey.” (Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen, “Economic See Less-Positive Outlook As Consumers Face Energy-Price Squeeze,” USA Today4/25/11)

  • Mostly Because Of Higher Gas Prices. “Most of the 38 economists who reduced their estimates pointed to higher oil and gasoline prices primarily, as well as rising food and other commodity costs.” (Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen, “Economic See Less-Positive Outlook As Consumers Face Energy-Price Squeeze,” USA Today4/25/11)

“Approval Of President Obama's Handling Of The Economy Hit An All-Time Low In A CBS/New York Times Poll Released Wednesday.” (Michael O’Brien, “Poll: Obama Gets Big Bounce, But Handling Of Economy At All-Time Low,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 5/4/11)

  • “Just 34 Percent Of Americans Said In The CBS/Times Poll That They Approved Of The Way Obama Was Handling The Economy, The Lowest Point Since He Took Office.” (Michael O’Brien, “Poll: Obama Gets Big Bounce, But Handling Of Economy At All-Time Low,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog, 5/4/11)

58 Percent Of Americans Disapprove Of How Obama Is Handling The Economy. (NBC Poll, 800 A, MoE 3.46%, 5/5-7/11)

61 Percent Of Americans Aren’t Fully Confident That Obama “Has The Right Set Of Goals And Policies To Be President Of The United States.” (NBC Poll, 800 A, MoE 3.46%, 5/5-7/11)


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