Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Job prospects

January 28, 2011

The U.S. economy grew 2.9 percent in 2010, the biggest GDP gain since 2005, but still too weak to make a big dent in the unemployment rate which ended the year at 9.4 percent.

Washington Extra – Obama takes the wheel

July 30, 2010

Second quarter GDP data gave us more evidence that the recovery is slowing, with the pace of consumer spending easing. True, business spending picked up, but analysts said cash-flush companies were merely making up for ground lost during the recession. There was a big rise in inventories too, a worrying sign if businesses have too much stock in warehouses and on shelves, and people just aren’t buying.

Health expenditure around the world

March 18, 2010

Health at a Glance 2009, a report by the OECD, shows that the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country.
Here are some figures on what leading economies spend on health care per capita, both in public and private schemes. The latest figures are from 2007 and are adjusted for purchasing power parity.

The First Draft: Return from Dover

October 29, 2009

President Barack Obama returned in the early hours from a trip to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where he saluted the flag-draped caskets of 18 soldiers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents killed in Afghanistan this week. OBAMA/

First Draft: Spinning

January 30, 2009

WASHINGTON – Lots of spinning going on.

Morning TV shows had footage of a spinning shark twirling out of the water and a spinning small plane blown about by the wind upon landing. And sports fans looking forward to the spinning football at Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Pennsylvania Democratic voters see U.S. recession already

April 23, 2008

rtr1z301.jpgWASHINGTON – One interesting tidbit that came out of the exit polling from Pennsylvania Democratic voters is that a large majority believe the U.S. economy is already in recession — contrary what the current president said on Tuesday.
    
A whopping 88 percent of voters in Pennsylvania — a state trying to transition from steel and coal industries to high-tech and medical research — said the U.S. economy was in a recession, with 42 percent saying it was a serious recession and 47 percent said it was a moderate contraction, according to exit poll data on CNN’s Web site (page 5 of data).
 
On Tuesday, President George W. Bush cited the most recent economic data showing small growth in the fourth quarter of 2007. But he also acknowledged that the first quarter figures had not yet been released.
 
“We’re not in a recession.  We’re in a slowdown,” Bush said after meetings with leaders of Canada and Mexico. “We haven’t had first quarter growth statistics yet. But there’s no question we’re in a slowdown.”
 
Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both said the economy was in a recession as has Republican presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain.
 
But White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said on Wednesday such pronouncements were a little early in the game. 
    
“We don’t have data yet and it’s a little premature to declare it so definitively as a recession because the data isn’t in,” she told reporters.
 
The Commerce Department is due to release the GDP figures for the first quarter on April 30, which is also when the U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest rate-setting committee will announce whether it is cutting rates again.