Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – 9 below

Don’t underestimate the PoliPsych impact of the unemployment rate falling below 9 percent for the first time in nearly two years.

That number is the one which resonates with the public when candidates talk about jobs on the campaign trail. USA-ECONOMY/JOBS

The economy is still shaking off the doldrums so the White House did not want to be seen as publicly reveling in what must have been a privately gleeful moment after the 8.9 percent February unemployment rate was revealed.

President Barack Obama said the employment report showed progress in the economy, “but we need to keep building on that momentum.”

Republicans were certainly not going to praise economic data with a Democrat in the White House and a presidential election next year.

Washington Extra – It’s my party

It’s Friday, when some people start thinking PARTY! Even in Washington.

The first employment report of the year, which was for December, gave the administration something to party about. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent from 9.8 percent. That is the number that resonates with the public, so a four-tenths of a percentage point drop can be politically useful. OBAMA/SPERLING

“Now, we know these numbers can bounce around from month to month. But the trend is clear,” President Barack Obama said. “We saw 12 straight months of private sector job growth.  That’s the first time that’s been true since 2006.”

Gene Sperling has something to party about, he’s just got his old job back. Obama announced additions to his White House economic team and named Sperling as director of the National Economic Council (a post he held in President Bill Clinton’s administration).

It was just a game of golf!

Ever since he played golf with President Barack Obama last week, New York newspapers have been rife with speculation that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being wooed by the administration to replace Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary. 

USA/The White House dismissed the speculation as fantasy and Bloomberg dismissed the idea. But still as summer draws to an end, what else is there to talk about going into the Labor Day holiday weekend except the lackluster U.S. economy?

More bad news for Obama on Friday with the unemployment rate rising to 9.6 percent. The economy is not creating jobs fast enough to reduce the unemployment rate and give Democrats more comfort going into the Nov. 2 congressional elections with their majority in Congress at stake.

Reuters/Ipsos poll: Obama approval hits new low, but Republicans catch blame too

President Barack Obama’s approval rating sank to a new low of 45 percent, while his disapproval rating rose to 52 percent, according to a Reuters-Ipsos  poll. It was the first time more Americans disapproved than approved of Obama in an Ipsos poll since he became president.

But Republicans had little to crow about because they were blamed more than Democrats for Washington being broken, according to the August national poll. OBAMA/

Among registered voters the readings were about even when looking ahead to the November midterm elections, with 46 percent  likely to vote for Republican candidates and 45 percent for Democrats.

Unemployment falls, what’s the proper political response?

OBAMA/The unemployment rate fell in January to 9.7 percent, the lowest in five months and below that dreaded 10 percent in December. It also foiled analyst expectations for an increase to 10.1 percent.

So a jump-for-joy event in Washington right?

Well, not quite.

The White House publicly decided on a cool, measured response.

(We have to believe someone over there must have let out a cheer, or maybe even clapped, at 8:30 a.m.)

The official response from White House economic adviser Christina Romer was a caution that there would likely be “bumps in the road ahead” and that it was important not to read too much into one monthly report. UNEMPLOYMENT/

Is the recession over? Obama’s advisers differ

Is the economic recession over in the United States? It depends on who you ask, even among President Barack Obama’s advisers.

USA-FINANCE/SUMMERS“Today everyone agrees that the recession is over. And the questions are around how fast we’ll recover,” Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, told CNN on Sunday.

But wait a minute. Not everyone agrees.

Senior White House economist Christina Romer, asked the same question on another television program, said “of course not.”

Good day for jobs, sad for panda lovers

For all those who woke up to the sad news that Washington’s loveable giant panda cub would be heading back to China, here’s a bright spot for your Friday:

USA/Job cuts in November were much lower than had been expected and the unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 10 percent from 10.2 percent.

The stronger-than-expected numbers helped boost the U.S. dollar and global stock prices on hopes for a strong economic recovery.

The First Draft: Jobs (not), Jobs (not), Jobs (not)

The October employment report is in and it’s a shocker.

The unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent, the highest since April 1983 when it was also 10.2 pct. If you don’t want to do the math, that was 26 years ago. It was worse than expectations for 9.9 percent. TEXAS-SHOOTING/SOLDIER

This is not good news for President Barack Obama who is struggling to pull the economy out of the worst recession since the Depression.

The employment numbers were also worse than expected with October payrolls falling 190,000, a bigger drop than the 175,000 decline expected.