Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Economy Still Struggling

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I know what’s going to happen soon.  Republicans will, at some point, begin complaining that President Obama’s economic policies aren’t working – if they were, why would we still be in a recession.  That’s why President Obama continues to personally address the American people, explaining his administration’s moves and why they’re being taken.  The American people in turn recognize that recovering from this economic disaster will take time and patience.  Not endless amounts of either, but reasonable doses.  The most recent corporate earnings reports haven’t thrilled Wall St.  Big deal – they shouldn’t thrill Wall St.  The fundamentals are still recovering from decades of economic mismanagement – initiated by Republicans and supported by Democrats.

That’s why it’s no surprise that sales of existing homes in the U.S. fell 3% again last month.  Markets in the West recovered, selling homes at 23% more than last year’s numbers.   That’s a sharp recovery, but I’m not convinced it will be long lived.  Those markets were overpriced for many years before taking a hard tumble in this recession.  Did they fall far enough so that market fundamentals can support their prices?  Or are people still trying to squeeze unsustainable returns from their properties?

Continued economic weakness is the message in this article about additional unemployment news.  The Labor Department reported today that initial claims for unemployment compensation rose to a seasonally adjusted 640,000, up from a revised 613,000 the previous week.  More bad news: 6.1 million people continue to file claims for benefits.  Few companies are hiring – they won’t until the economic outlook improves.  That means we’re a long way away from recovery.  It’s a bad chicken-or-egg problem that more and more Americans are suffering under.  These claims mean that the unemployment figures for April are likely to go higher than March’s (which was over 15%).

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