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Backsliding?

1:38 PM, Aug 15, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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Yesterday’s first time claims number was disappointing. Today, as Renee Dudley of Bloomberg reports, Walmart's

… latest struggles to revive U.S. sales, following a disappointing Commerce Department report earlier this week, add to evidence that the economy isn’t recovering as quickly as expected. The company posted stagnant same-store sales today in its second-quarter earnings report, marking the sixth straight period of no growth. The world’s largest retailer also cut its earnings forecast for the year, citing higher spending on health care and e-commerce.

And, then, there is the consumer confidence number from the University of Michigan which, as Zero Hedge reports, “Collapses To 9-Month Low, Biggest Miss In Over 8 Years.”

These are not, plainly, auguries of a booming recovery. And very hard to blame on the weather.  

James Pethokoukis writes:

Americans have lost a lot of confidence and replaced it with fear and concern that if something goes wrong things will get even worse. People no longer have that feeling that if they fall down they can pick themselves back up. And I think that’s expressed in the expectation variables. The economy needs to put in stronger numbers for people to feel that they are on more solid ground. And it’s fair to say that the politician simply don’t get it and don’t accept the blame for their contribution to this difficult situation. I was not very optimistic about what the Michigan index would do this week. But the survey managed to come in bellow my expectations. It’s a very depressing report.

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