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It will be interesting to see how Democratic hopefuls spin this:
In many ways, the economy is on a more solid footing than five years ago, as many of its excesses have been wrung out. Companies have cleaned up their balance sheets and pared their payrolls to the bone. Any upturn is flowing rapidly to the bottom line. Recent months have profited investors more than workers (the stock market posted its first positive year since 1999 in 2003, rising more than 25 percent), but that could change soon. Facing increased demand, confirmed last week in a report showing a sixth straight month of rising manufacturing activity, businesses are finally beginning to add workers. Even the "jobless recovery" is becoming no more. The Labor Department reported last week that the widely watched four week moving average of jobless claims fell to its lowest level since early in 2001. That number, 355,700, is well below the 400,000 threshold considered the dividing line between an expanding and contracting labor market and close to the 350,000 level at which employment typically accelerates.
US News goes on in its lengthy article to wring out several Joe Average stories, where points are scored using personal stories of representative temp workers, CEOs, middle managers, and so on, but the overall message of the article is that the US economy is poised to expand like mad in 2004. Economics is not my strong point, but it sure seems clear to me that the Bush administration has made all the right moves in getting the rebound we all wanted. The timing may not be too comfortable for the Democrat who runs against Bush in November, however ...
Then there's also this, regarding the economic outlook from the International Monetary Fund:
True to the old adage about rising tides, the U.S. recovery appears to be lifting economic boats worldwide. Indeed, stateside success, according to the International Monetary Fund, should spur the planet to enjoy over 4 percent growth in 2004, a rate not seen since before the 2001 recession. ... But most nations can still thank the United States--where tax cuts and record-low interest rates are fueling seemingly insatiable consumer demand--for their good fortunes. "The global recovery is quite dependent on the U.S. recovery," says Andrew Pyle, a vice president at Scotiabank in Toronto. "At the end of the day, since the Asian crisis, the single largest engine of world growth has been the States."
Bush won't be holding his breath for the global gratitude due him and his administration for this growth, but voters in November will certainly be prepared to demonstrate it, especially if Dean winds up at the top of the Democratic ticket. (via Blogs for Bush)Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on January 5, 2004 7:55 AM
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