Tepid economic growth

A new economic report showed that the U.S. recovery is losing its momentum.

A new economic report showed the U.S. recovery losing its momentum, indicating that the unemployment rate will remain high right up to the November election. The rate of economic growth between April and June slowed to an anemic 1.5 percent, below the 2 percent gain reported in the first quarter of the year, and economists say they do not expect growth to increase substantially in the next few months. Faltering consumer spending and a contracting public sector served as a major drag. “The U.S. economy is barely growing,” said economic analyst Dan Greenhaus. “It’s no wonder the unemployment rate cannot move lower.”

“It’s important to understand how unusual this kind of weak recovery is,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Historically, deep recessions have been followed by vigorous recoveries, “as there is more lost ground to make up.” Obama’s economic policies have clearly failed. Voters may not blame Obama for the Great Recession, said the Washington Examiner. But this dismal recovery has occurred on his watch, and Americans have “no confidence whatsoever in his ability” to right the ship. He’s in real “danger of losing in November.”

Don’t be so sure of that, said Jonathan Bernstein in WashingtonPost.com. The economy isn’t booming, but we’re still seeing “slow but positive growth.” That leaves the election a toss-up, with Obama “a bit more likely to win than to lose.” The obsession with the latest gross domestic product and unemployment numbers is ultimately misleading, said Zachary Karabell in TheDailyBeast.com. These statistics are essentially guesstimates; GDP growth in the last quarter of 2011 was just revised upward to 4 percent from 3 percent; had that been reported at the time, it “might well have changed the entire tenor of our public debate.” To get the economy moving again, we need consumer and business confidence, and “fetishizing” simplistic statistics isn’t helping.

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