Yesterday, I noted that we have generally had our strongest periods of economic growth coming out of our deepest recessions, and I compared FDR and Obama in this vein. Another good comparison is a more recent one — between Obama and President Reagan.
Today, President Obama said, “It has typically taken countries up to ten years to recover from financial crises of this magnitude.” In truth, however, the historical norm has been as follows: the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery.
President Obama, speaking this afternoon in Cleveland, seemed to celebrate the unemployment rate of 8.1 percent, and said it "typically take[s] countries up to ten years to recover from financial crises of this magnitude."
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that worker productivity fell by .9 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Some press and Obama sympathizers have blithely spun this as a good thing for the economy, making the rote observation that less productive workers mean that companies have "wrung all the productivity out of their current workforce" and will thus need to hire more workers soon. Nothing could be further from the truth, and its decline is a harbinger of worse economic news down the pike.
To many observers the choice is simple: These are the worst of economic times, or almost—and we are on the brink of something worse. Incumbent politicians fear this is the case, and challengers, sotto voce, hope it is. They focus on what to them is the long run—the 22 weeks until Election Day, November 6, when voters will tell them whether they can continue in office or must find gainful employment in the private sector.
The unemployment numbers have been released and they are dismal and, typically, unexpectedly so. Fewer than 70,000 new jobs and the least scary measure of unemployment rising from 8.1 percent to 8.2 percent. According to NPR:
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its first estimate of jobs created during the month of May. The consensus estimate is for about 150,000 total jobs to have been added to the economy, barely enough to keep up with population growth and certainly insufficient to reduce the jobless rate in any meaningful way.
In the overall national poll, Obama was favored over Romney by double-digits on three fronts: handling living standards for the poor, the concentration of wealth and the cost of a college education. Romney was favored over Obama by double-digits on three fronts: dealing with the deficit and debt, the financial performance of savings and retirement investments, and economic growth.—Susan Page, USA Today
Hardly anyone would dispute the assertion that the issue driving the elections this year will be “the economy.”
In the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race, Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over the jobs numbers under Governor Scott Walker's administration. Republicans have been touting the fact that the unemployment rate has declined from 7.7 percent to 6.8 percent since Governor Scott Walker took office. But Democrats have countered by pointing to a Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report showing that the state lost 29,000 non-farm jobs during the past year--making Wisconsin dead last in that category nationwide.
Summer is approaching and nerves are jangling. In recent years the green shoots of the early months withered in the heat of summer. The queue of people worried that this summer will be another in which a recovery is aborted is long: the unemployed, retailers, investors, President Barack Obama and his team, incumbent congressmen of both parties, home builders, and car salesman—to name just a few.