Monday, July 10, 2006

Was he drunk when he said it?

Wither the jobless recovery? You remember it:

OF ALL the signs that America's economy is sputtering, none is more striking than the jobs market. Overall unemployment, at 6%, is still relatively low, but this headline figure masks a much tougher reality. More than 500,000 jobs have disappeared in the past three months, pushing the total lost under George Bush above 2m. Long-term unemployment, at 1.9m, is at its highest for ten years. And these numbers do not include the large number of “discouraged workers” (people who would like to work but have given up looking) and the even larger number of “underemployed” (those who are working, but not as much as they would like to).

The weak jobs market is itself harming the chances of recovery. Consumers worried about losing their jobs are more likely to save their cash than spend it.

Fast forward three years and what do you see? We know what President Bush sees; a recovery that is hardly jobless as he mentioned in Friday morning's press conference:

This morning we got some good news: The nation added 121,000 new jobs for the month of June. That's over 5.4 million jobs since August of 2003.

That's 34 months of job increases.

First quarter, our economy grew at 5.6 percent. Productivity is high.

Meanwhile, the critics it seems can never really quit being critics:

Coming out of the Bush presser in Chicago, on NBC and MSNBC, Tim Russert just pronounced that Bush couldn’t control the agenda of questions (duh), that he wanted to discuss the economy, which is, Russert declared, “robust, in his mind.”

No respect, I tell ya! At this point I'd settle just for some a-political honesty in the reporting of matters economic.

Finally, this from Investor's Business Daily touches on the how and why US citizens--be they a well-known journalist or an average-Joe contractor--gets away with the continuing pessimism:

As an experiment, we subtracted our Economic Optimism Index from our Personal Finances Index to measure this phenomenon. The bigger the number, the better people feel about their own financial situation vs. the economy in general.

Since the start of our poll, the average is 6.2. But the spread over the last five months has widened to double digits, averaging 10.8. That's cognitive dissonance, big time.

In their hearts, Americans know this is the best of times, economically speaking. But after being told over and over, "Gee, you sure look lousy," it looks like they believe the worst.

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