The Obama Economy: Misery Up, Confidence Down

Posted by Brian Patrick on

FYI – 

With the “misery index” reaching its highest level in 28 years, its clear the “Recovery Summer” that the Administration promised last year, still hasn’t happened. As Jeff Cox writes over at CNBC, “it doesn’t get much more miserable than this.” Yet with millions of Americans out of work, neither the Administration nor Congressional Democrats have put forth a plan to create jobs and boost economic growth.

The “Misery Index” Reaches Its Highest Level In 28 years. When it comes to measuring the combination of unemployment and inflation, it doesn’t get much more miserable than this. In fact, misery, as measured in the unofficial Misery Index that simply totals the unemployment and inflation rates, is at a 28-year high, reflective of how weak the economic recovery has been and how far there is to go. The index, first compiled during the soaring inflation days of the 1970s by economist Arthur Okun, is registering a nausea-inducing 12.7—9.1 percent for unemployment and 3.6 percent for annualized inflation—a number not seen since 1983. The index has been above 10 since November 2009 and had been under double-digits from June 1993 through May 2008. (CNBC, 6/17/11)

  • Conditions For Manufacturers In New York Deteriorate. Conditions for New York manufacturers deteriorated in June, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York‘s Empire State Manufacturing Survey released Wednesday. The general business conditions index dipped for the first time since November 2010 below zero, falling 20 points to -7.79 from the previous report in May. The index dramatically disappointed economists’ expectations of a 12 reading for the index. In other distressing news, the new orders and shipments indexes also fell sharply, both below zero, with new orders registering a -3.61 reading and shipments coming in at -8.02. And in another darkening sign for the long-distressed labor market, the index for number of employees dropped 15 points to 10.2. (The Wall Street Journal, 6/15/11)
  • Confidence Erodes Among Manufacturing In The Philadelphia Region. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region unexpectedly contracted in June and Americans’ views on the economy’s outlook soured, signaling an erosion of confidence in the expansion. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index fell to minus 7.7, the lowest since July 2009, from 3.9 the prior month. Readings less than zero signal contraction. The Bloomberg gauge of economic expectations slumped to minus 31 this month, the weakest since March 2009, from minus 16. (Bloomberg, 6/16/11)
  • More Small Businesses Are Planning On Laying Off Workers Than Plan On Hiring New Ones. In the latest sign that the economic recovery may have lost whatever modest oomph it had, more small businesses say that they are planning to shrink their payrolls than say they want to expand them. ... if the nation’s small companies plan to further delay hiring — or, worse, return to laying off workers, as they now hint they might — there is little hope that the nation’s 14 million idle workers will find gainful employment soon. (The New York Times, 6/15/11)
  • Small Business Start-Ups Have Hit Their Lowest Level Since The Early 1990’s.  Entrepreneurs have started up the fewest new U.S. businesses in more than a decade, according to government figures that could spell more bad news for job creation. Through the 12 months ended in March of last year, 505,473 new businesses started up in the U.S., according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's the weakest growth since the bureau started tracking the data in the early 1990s. It's down sharply from the record 667,341 new businesses added in the 12 months that ended in March 2006. (USA Today, 6/13/11)
  • 78% Of Americans Are Dissatisfied With The Direction The Nation Is Heading. Seventy-eight percent of Americans are now dissatisfied with the nation's direction, according to a June 9-12 Gallup poll ... shifts in Americans' satisfaction with the country have closely paralleled changes in Gallup's Economic Confidence Index over the past decade, suggesting that economic perceptions have been a key determinant of Americans' broader view of the country's direction. ... 36%, say the economy is the biggest problem facing the country, 24% cite unemployment or jobs, and 11% mention the federal budget deficit or debt. (Gallup, 6/16/11)
  • Economic Confidence Among Americans Has Dropped Even Lower Than It Was A Year Ago. A sharp deterioration in the jobs outlook and six straight weeks of Wall Street declines sent Americans' confidence in the U.S. economy plunging to an average of -35 during the week ending June 12 -- a decline of nine percentage points from two weeks ago, and six points worse than it was in the same week a year ago. Economic confidence is now approaching a 2011 weekly low. (Gallup, 6/14/11)

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