Monday, November 09, 2009

Obama & the economy

Graphic to the left found via Exurban League with a link to a report regarding the nationwide unemployment rate. So that's what that graphic represents. That link is to a CNN story ironically.
The nation's unemployment rate rose above 10% for the first time since 1983 in October, a much worse jump than expected as employers continued to trim jobs from payrolls.

The reading, reported by the government Friday, is a sign of the continued weakness in the labor market even though the economy grew in the third quarter following the longest and deepest downturn since the Great Depression.

The government reported that the unemployment rate spiked to 10.2%, up from 9.8% in September. It is the highest that this rate has been since April 1983. Economists had forecast an increase to 9.9%.

There was also a net loss of 190,000 jobs in October, according to the Labor Department, an improvement from a revised estimate of 219,000 job losses in September. However, economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast a loss of only 175,000 jobs in October. This was the 22nd straight month of job losses.
The green economy hasn't provided much opportunity according to this story from the Washington Post:
In Baltimore, the 300 block of East 23 1/2 Street is getting patched up in time for winter. One economic stimulus program is paying to insulate 11 rental rowhouses, another is paying for furnaces and a third is covering the cost for reflective roofs to be installed by prison inmates in a job-training program.

The block is part of one of the biggest initiatives ever undertaken by the federal government, a nationwide push to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. But as the national unemployment rate crosses into the double digits and Republicans question the stimulus program's impact, the work on East 23 1/2 -- even with all of its activity -- has so far not produced a single job.

Nine months after Congress passed the $787 billion stimulus package, there is little tangible to show for one of its biggest single areas of investment, the $25 billion energy-efficiency effort. That points to one of the central tensions of President Obama's landmark stimulus package: His goal was to inject money quickly into the economy while at the same time laying the groundwork for his broader, transformational agenda on energy, education and health care.

Officials overseeing the energy-efficiency effort want to fundamentally alter the way the country uses energy. They are trying to craft initiatives that will produce real savings to build the case for continued private or public investment. And they are putting safeguards in place to avoid any spending scandals that could tarnish the effort.

All this deliberation comes with a tradeoff: The full force of the spending will likely not be felt until well into next year, potentially undermining the job-creating aim of the stimulus.
Another article suggesting that Obama's stimulus has failed:
Since the $787 billion stimulus was passed in February, the economy has lost 2.9 million jobs - for a total of 4.3 million since the end of 2008. The silver lining, some say, is the number of jobs lost each month is shrinking. But they lose sight of this: There's no guarantee the economy's 3.5% growth in the third quarter will continue.

Indeed, some worry the economy is on a slow-growth path that will lead to permanently high joblessness, weaker income growth and fewer opportunities. The Blue Chip consensus of more than 50 economists nationwide expects unemployment to remain above 8% at least into 2012.

Why should this be? Well, start with the fact that virtually all job growth comes from companies with fewer than 500 employees, and that startups and very small businesses are responsible for more than half of all new jobs.

Today, these entrepreneurial job creators are running scared. That the White House vows to jack up taxes on those with "high incomes" (that is, entrepreneurs) is one reason why. Next year's scheduled expiration of the Bush tax cuts that pulled the economy out of the 2001 recession is another.

Higher income taxes, a flood of stiff new regulations and the possibility of at least $2 trillion in new taxes related to cap-and-trade and a health care overhaul over the next decade have created a climate of uncertainty - for small and large businesses alike.

Businesses are hunkered down. They have $1 trillion in cash stashed away, but they won't invest out of fear it'll be taxed away or some government czar will tell them how to run their business.
And now for the final point, that this is now Obama's economy!
Fast forward. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released unemployment figures for October 2009. The official rate was 10.2 percent, up more than 50 percent from the time Obama gave that speech. Oops, nevermind.

(By the way, the underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who want to work full time and those who’ve given up searching, is a staggering 17.5 percent.)

Job creation has dropped from top priority to one of many, and President Obama has been remanded to pandering for patience and offering excuses. On the one hand, he argues the tortured rationale that there is good news in the awful numbers: Things are still getting worse but at a slower pace. On the other, he incessantly reminds us that he inherited the crisis. The implication: Don’t blame me, blame Bush.

But this president can’t keep deflecting to the last one. Pain is presently felt. The crisis that took form on Bush’s watch is being experienced on Obama’s. Fair or not, finger-pointing is not effective policy.

This is now Obama’s crisis, and it carries political consequences. During Tuesday’s gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia, nearly 9 in 10 voters said that they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year. And the majority of those who held that view voted for the Republican candidates. This could portend a flashback to 1994.
I don't know. It seems things are moving at a crawl currently. What say you out there?

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