Obama: Recovery Act created and saved over one million jobs

This number just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

From Raw Story:

US President Barack Obama said Saturday the United States was recovering from deep recession and that “hundreds of thousands of jobs” had been created through massive investments.

The president cited this week’s report on gross domestic product, pointing out that in the third quarter, GDP grew for the first time in over a year — and faster than it has in the previous two years.

“Today, I am pleased to offer some better news that – while not cause for celebration – is certainly reason to believe that we are moving in the right direction,” the president said in his weekly radio address.

Obama said the 787-billion-dollar Recovery Act stimulus package passed earlier this year had helped create or save over one million jobs.

Data posted on Recovery.gov, the website of the independent panel overseeing the stimulus measure, showed 640,329 jobs directly saved or created up until September 30.

Since the survey data only accounts for half the spending during that time, officials say the true number of jobs created is over a million.

Republicans, however, accused the administration of making up job creation numbers “out of thin air” to disguise the failure of Obama’s economic policies.

Unemployment remains a key hurdle to sustained recovery, with the latest monthly figures in September pushing the jobless rate to a new 26-year high of 9.8 percent, with job losses accelerating to 263,000.

However, Obama said there was reason for optimism.

“We’ve saved jobs by closing state budget shortfalls to prevent the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of police officers, firefighters, and teachers who are today on the beat, on call, and in the classroom because of the Recovery Act,” Obama said.

“And we’ve also created hundreds of thousands of jobs through the largest investment in our roads since the building of the interstate highways, and through the largest investments in education, medical research, and clean energy in history.”

The president however warned that a lot of work still lay ahead and said that he wanted to create an economy where jobs were readily available and incomes were rising again.

“The economy we seek is one that’s no longer based on maxed out credits cards, wild speculation, and the old cycles of boom or bust – but rather one that’s built on a solid foundation, supporting growth that is strong, sustained, and broadly shared by middle class families across America,” Obama said.

This video was released by the White House on Oct. 31, 2009.

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What A Jobless Recovery Today Means For Tomorrow?

This is an op-ed piece by the president of the United Steelworkers from Pittsburgh (Leo W. Gerard), former CEO of AT&T Broadband (Leo Hindery), and former Michigan Senator Don Riegle. They basically represent unions, big business, and government, in that order. They believe that we are in a “jobless recovery” and together developed and proposed a three part idea which they felt would create jobs, that they hoped would gain the attention of the Obama administration. However, they now have this to say about the administration’s apparent view of the economy (from The Huffington Post):

It’s almost as if the administration is opting for a rose-colored-glasses PR strategy rather than taking a hard-nose look at actual consumer and employment figures and their trends, and modifying its economic policies accordingly.

It is still very clear to the three of us that the economic stimulus plan will not move the country toward anything approaching full employment and, most important, that the jobless recovery has already started “feeding back” on itself, as evidenced by four key indicators:

First, consumer spending, despite the benefits from millions of $500 stimulus checks and the “cash-for-clunkers” program, remains in a very deep malaise…

Second, the percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to an almost unbelievable 48% in 2011, from the already numbing level of 26% today…

Third, the continuing trade deficit, which is currently around 2.2% of GDP, subtracts more from the demand for American-made goods and services than the stimulus plan adds…

Fourth, even if one accepts GDP growth as the primary measure of economic vitality, which notably we don’t, the so-called “recovery” of GDP in the second quarter was mostly due to one-time accelerated government spending in general and on transfer payments, and the expected GDP “recoveries” in the third and fourth quarters will be just as questionable…

Read the rest:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leo-hindery-jr/what-a-jobless-recovery-i_b_261667.html

Hong Kong emerges from recession

Another country (along with France and Germany) emerge from their recessions, according to the latest data. Personally, I think it’s a little early to make a statement like this; two or three quarters of growth would be a better indicator than just one (or so it would seem to me, but I’m no economist).

From The BBC:

The seasonally adjusted figures were better than had been expected and the government has raised its forecast for growth in the whole year.

It followed the emergence from recession of Singapore, which grew an annualised 20.7% in the second quarter.

Hong Kong’s growth was negative for four consecutive quarters, starting in the second quarter of 2008.

The growth of 3.3% compares with a revised contraction of 4.3% for the first three months of 2009.

Read the rest:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8201056.stm

The Beginning of the End of the Recession?

Let’s hope so, but don’t be surprised if this positive sounding headline tends to be just a little too optimistic. Side note: it’s interesting that they call this the worst recession since the ’30’s. But the “recession” of the 30’s is called “The Great Depression” today. Is there something they aren’t telling us?

From Business Week:

Could it be true? Is the end of the worst U.S. recession since the 1930s finally at hand? Recent data, including the July 31 report on second-quarter real gross domestic product, make a strong case that the economy hit bottom last quarter and an upturn is already under way. It won’t feel much like a recovery, because the job markets are sure to remain weak until businesses gain confidence in the upturn’s sustainability. But a shift to positive GDP growth—after four quarters of contraction—will be an important first step in that direction.

Real GDP fell at an annual rate of only 1% in the second quarter, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), a much slower rate of decline after plunging 6.4% in the first quarter, 5.4% in the fourth, and 2.7% in the third. The details of the report showed a record $141 billion liquidation of inventories, along with a stabilization in overall demand led by a sharp narrowing in the trade deficit and stronger government outlays. Consumer spending fell after posting a gain in the first quarter, while housing took another big bite out of growth. Business cutbacks in capital spending were significantly smaller than in the first quarter.

Read the rest:

http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jul2009/db20090731_542047.htm

How Fake is the “Recovery”?

From Counterpunch:

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Last week on NPR a professor in the Sloan School of Management at MIT explained that what is really at stake in the health care bill is the US government’s ability to borrow. In other words, the bill is about cutting health care costs, not about providing hard-pressed Americans with health care.

The professor said that if we didn’t get health care costs under control, in 30 years the US government would not be able to sell Treasury bonds.

It is not at all clear that the Treasury will be able to sell its debt instruments in 30 months, and it has nothing to do with health care costs.  The Treasury debt marketing problem has to do with two back-to-back US fiscal year budgets, each with a $2 trillion deficit.  The size of the US deficit exceeds in these troubled times the supply of world savings available to fund the US government’s wars, bailouts and stimulus plans. If the Federal Reserve has to monetize the Treasury’s new borrowings by creating demand deposits for the Treasury (printing money), America’s foreign creditors might flee the dollar.

Read the rest:

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts07292009.html