Huffington Post: The small business sector, which President Obama recently said will “lead” the economic recovery, made up the bulk of job losses in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department reported on Wednesday. Small companies– those with less than 50 employees– accounted for 61.8 percent of all job losses and 51.4 percent of all job gains during the last three months of 2009. Small Businesses Dominated U.S. Job Cuts In Q4.
Wall Street Journal: To no one’s surprise except perhaps Vice President Joe Biden’s, second quarter economic growth was revised down yesterday to 1.6% from the prior estimate of 2.4%, which was down from first quarter growth of 3.7%, which was down from the 2009 fourth quarter’s 5%. Economic recoveries are supposed to go in the other direction. The downward revision was anticipated given the poor early economic reports for the third quarter, including a plunge in new home sales, mediocre manufacturing data, volatile jobless claims and even (after a healthy period) weaker corporate profits. Many economists fear that third quarter growth could be negative. The 1.6% Recovery .
Washington Times: “The fact is the Recovery Act is working,” Mr. Biden declared in mid-June. But as summer fades and the economy sputters, the vice president now gamely contends that even though the economy did not respond as robustly as the administration would have preferred, “no doubt we’re moving in the right direction.” But what direction is that? Indicators that should be down are up, and those that should be up are down. The administration claims to have “saved” 3 million jobs, but this argument is losing traction as new claims for unemployment benefits continue to rise. Almost one in five American adults is either unemployed, underemployed or has lost hope. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth has declined since the end of 2009, and Friday’s downward revision of second-quarter growth shows an economy on life support. New-home sales have fallen to the lowest pace on record, and despite historically low mortgage rates, prospective homebuyers lack enough confidence in the future to make long-term commitments. Meanwhile, more people are losing their home,s and Mr. Obama’s plan to mitigate foreclosure has bogged down in red tape and administrative waste. Summer sizzles, economy fizzles.
Voice of America News: New figures show that contrary to initial estimates, the U.S. economy grew at a much slower pace between April and June. The Commerce Department says Gross Domestic output (GDP) in the second quarter grew at a sluggish 1.6 percent, down sharply from the previous estimate last month of 2.4 percent. The new reading adds to growing concerns about the pace of economic recovery. The latest economic snapshot shows an economy that’s barely growing. Despite a slight drop in weekly jobless claims, businesses remain reluctant to hire new workers and fewer Americans are buying homes. US Gross Domestic Output Revised Lower.
Palm Beach Post: Sales of newly constructed homes hit a historic low last month, a likely aftermath of the tax credit but also a sign of an economy still struggling with record unemployment. The 12.4 percent drop in sales from June to a seasonally adjusted annual total of 276,000 wasn’t a surprise to South Florida builders. “This is not an anomaly, it’s all about jobs,” said Mark Hodges, Southeast Florida division president for K. Hovnanian about Wednesday’s housing report from the Commerce Department. “We’re all hoping something happens. I don’t know what that is, but until it happens, it’s going to be a slower market.” New-home sales at record low as lack of jobs persists.
Heritage Foundation: The CEO of Intel has joined the ranks of those labeling big government as the cause of our economic slump, not the solution. … To put America back to work, it’s time to heed those who create jobs, rather than politicians who create more government. Intel and others should not face a $1-billion hurdle to expanding in the USA instead of overseas. Government Strangles High-Tech Growth.
New York Daily News: More bad news hit the U.S. economy Friday as the Commerce Department released a revised forecast of economic growth that shows a decline to 1.6%. The second-quarter numbers were initially forecasted to be 2.4%. The outlook for the third quarter isn’t much better with economists expecting just a 1.7% growth. Also, the private sector is not adding enough jobs to dent the unemployment rate, which remains stuck at 9.5%. US economic growth continues to fall as government shows just 1.6% growth in second quarter.
Washington Post: Another day, another lousy piece of economic data. The 27.2 percent fall in existing home sales in July was far below analysts’ official expectations (though in line with some of the whisper numbers that close watchers of housing data were expecting). And financial markets have again taken notice; money continues gushing into safe U.S. Treasury bonds, sending the yield on those bonds to 2.52 percent as of 11 a.m. (it reached as low as 2.48 percent earlier this morning). There’s a pattern here, and it’s not a good one. Virtually every major economic indicator to come out in the past two months has been disappointing in one way or another. Retail sales. International trade. Weekly jobless claims. The monthly employment report. Housing starts. The recovery is losing steam, fast.
Associated Press: The weak job market has been deteriorating even further. New applications for unemployment benefits, which generally rise and fall with layoffs, have increased for three straight weeks. Last week they reached 500,000, the highest level in nine months, as construction firms and manufacturing companies cut more jobs. Claims are forecast to fall to 490,000 when the Labor Department reports the latest figures on Thursday, according to a survey of Wall Street economists by Thomson Reuters. The report will be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT. That would be an improvement, but it wouldn’t be enough to change the broader picture: that employers are reluctant to hire, and some are even cutting jobs, as the economic recovery weakens. Ahead of the Bell: Jobless claims.
U.S. News and World Report: The Fed has lowered rates dramatically to keep the economy ticking and maybe continue the painfully slow recovery, but at the receiving end there is no feeling of relief at all. People know that the stimulus is about to stop stimulating. They know that money is petering out. They know that states are preparing to cut $200 billion to balance their budgets. They realize that the Great Recession has wiped out huge amounts of wealth and that, unlike other recessions, this will not be followed by the kind of economic boom when people who had sat on their money during the lean years unleash pent-up demand for all sorts of goods and services. There is no sign of that happening this time around. Households and businesses have kept their hands in their pockets. And so while many think that the only way to revive the economy and to inject more money into it is through governmental spending, the general feeling is that we can’t afford that right now. The government will be writing more IOUs on top of those we already can’t afford. Why plan a second stimulus if the first stimulus couldn’t prevent high unemployment? The Most Fiscally Irresponsible Government in U.S. History.
Stamford Advocate: The government is about to confirm what many people have felt for some time: The economy barely has a pulse. The Commerce Department on Friday will revise its estimate for economic growth in the April-to-June period and Wall Street economists forecast it will be cut almost in half, to a 1.4 percent annual rate from 2.4 percent. That’s a sharp slowdown from the first quarter, when the economy grew at a 3.7 percent annual rate, and economists say it’s a taste of the weakness to come. The current quarter isn’t expected to be much better, with many economists forecasting growth of only 1.7 percent. Such slow growth won’t feel much like an economic recovery and won’t lead to much hiring. The unemployment rate, now at 9.5 percent, could even rise by the end of the year. Snapshot of economy about to get a lot bleaker.
Politico: Fed chief Ben Bernanke said Friday the nation’s central bank would take action to prop up the economy if absolutely necessary. Some economists — not to mention panicky Democrats — are asking: What are you waiting for? Amid a raft of grim economic statistics this week — including anemic readings on jobs and housing — talk of a double-dip recession is getting louder on Wall Street. Bernanke is about the only person left with the economic leverage to try to get something going in the economy — which, in turn, could help Democratic prospects this fall. Even if the economy somehow avoids a double-dip, many say growth will be so slow and job creation so tepid that it will feel to most voters like a grinding recession no matter what the precise figures say. Ben Bernanke dashes Democrats’ hopes.
AmericaBlog.com: The small sliver of truth in claims of continuing recovery is the fact that G.D.P. is still rising: we’re not in a classic recession, in which everything goes down. But so what? The important question is whether growth is fast enough to bring down sky-high unemployment. We need about 2.5 percent growth just to keep unemployment from rising, and much faster growth to bring it significantly down. Yet growth is currently running somewhere between 1 and 2 percent, with a good chance that it will slow even further in the months ahead. Krugman: ‘This isn’t a recovery’ .
Springfield State Journal Register: The slowdown in the housing market has begun to show up in local unemployment numbers. The Illinois Department of Employment Security Thursday reported a loss of 600 construction jobs in the past year contributed to a slight increase in Springfield-area unemployment — to 8.5 percent in July from 8.4 percent in June. Unemployment ticks upward in Springfield area.
Los Angeles Times: California’s labor market showed troubling signs of weakness in July as employers cut positions, offering little hope to the state’s 2.25 million jobless workers. Golden State employers slashed 9,400 net jobs from payrolls, according to data released Friday by the Employment Development Department, marking the second straight month of losses. While the state’s unemployment rate remained constant at 12.3%, the jobless rate in the Inland Empire metropolitan area reached a new high of 15.1%, and the rate in Los Angeles County grew to 12.4% from 12.2% in June. California jobless rate remains 12.3% in July.
NPR: July’s dismal unemployment report, released Friday by the Labor Department, confirmed what millions of Americans already knew: It’s still tough to find a job. But at least for people who do have jobs, the report held a bit of encouraging news: Wages ticked up slightly last month after stagnating in June. Workers’ pay was 1.8 percent higher than the same month last year. By historic standards, that level of wage growth is weak. But government statistics show employers aren’t withholding raises. Rather, they are directing the compensation increases to the rising costs of health care benefits. As a result, employers are feeling squeezed by higher benefits costs, and workers are feeling squeezed by very slow wage growth. Retailers Worry Over Depressed Wages, Job Losses.
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