There’s been a lot of chatter about how Obama isn’t focusing on the economy, how his plans have failed, etc.
Want to know the real story? Well, read on my friends, read on…
Yes, unemployment hasn’t dropped as quickly as we had hoped, but if the economic growth that has happened in the past quarter is any indication…if we hadn’t acted then the unemployment rate would have been MUCH worse. So while you can grouse about the administration’s inaccurate assessment about how high it would rise…I think some credit needs to be given to them for helping turn our economy around in such a dramatic fashion.
One year after U.S stocks hit their post-financial-crisis low on March 9, 2009, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 Index has risen more than 68 percent, and it’s up more than 41 percent since Obama took office. Credit spreads have narrowed. Commodity prices have surged. Housing prices have stabilized.
“We’ve had a phenomenal run in asset classes across the board,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for Miller Tabak & Co. in New York. “If he was a Republican, we would hear a never-ending drumbeat of news stories about markets voting in favor of the president.”
The economy has also strengthened beyond expectations at the time Obama took office. The gross domestic product grew at a 5.9 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, compared with a median forecast of 2.0 percent in a Bloomberg survey of economists a week before Obama’s Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration. The median forecast for GDP growth this year is 3.0 percent, according to Bloomberg’s February survey of economists, versus 2.1 percent for 2010 in the survey taken 13 months earlier.
“You have to give them — along with the Federal Reserve – – a lot of credit,” said Joseph Carson, director of economic research at AllianceBernstein LP in New York. “A year ago, there was panic, as well as concern. And a lot of the expectations were not only that we were going to have declines in activity but they would stretch all the way to 2010, if not 2011.”
And about unemployment…
Since then, monthly job losses have abated, from 779,000 during the month Obama took office to 36,000 last month. Corporate profits have grown; among 491 companies in the S&P 500 that reported fourth-quarter earnings, profits rose 180 percent from a year ago, according to Bloomberg data. Durable goods orders in January were up 9.3 percent from a year earlier. Inflation is tame, and long-term interest rates remain low. […]
While jobs have been slow to come back even as GDP is growing, the gains in productivity during the past year will strengthen the economy, said Greenhaus of Miller Tabak. Productivity grew at a 6.9 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter, capping the biggest one-year gain since 2002.
So…profits are rising and productivity is going up…but employers aren’t hiring? Well, Obama can’t force companies to hire people. But it’s only a matter of time before they start adding people again…well, let’s hope.
Still, most Americans don’t think he’s handling the economy very well. Gallup reports that his approval on the issue has gone from 59% favorable in Feb 2009 to 61% unfavorable in Feb 2010.
So, is this more of a communications challenge than anything? Can rhetoric turn the “reality” around? What do you think?