Entries in Economy (101)


Vice President Joe Biden: ‘Detroit’s Getting Back Up’ Economically

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Revving up a crowd at a Detroit high school, Vice President Joe Biden offered up one of his father’s old adages to illustrate the tenacity the people of Detroit possess as their city works to recover from the crisis in the auto industry.

“My dad used to say you measure a man or woman – it wasn’t whether they got knocked down, but how quickly they got up. And guess what? Detroit’s getting back up,” Biden told an estimated crowd of 1,100 packed into a narrow hallway at Renaissance High School Wednesday.

Detroit’s unemployment rate remains more than a point above the national average, sitting at 9.7 percent in June, but over the past three years, the unemployment rate in the city has decreased dramatically from its 27.8-percent rate in July 2009. Michigan’s unemployment rate rose last month, jumping from 8.6 percent in June to nine percent in July.

Biden, who called Mitt Romney a “decent” man despite boos emanating from the crowd, knocked the presumptive GOP nominee for the 2008 New York Times op-ed he penned with the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” saying that the president’s approach to dealing with the auto industry proved successful.

“In spite of Gov. Romney’s insistence that we let Detroit go bankrupt, we rescued the automobile industry,” Biden said.

The Romney campaign claimed Biden’s comments about Detroit’s turnaround are “out of touch.”

“For millions of middle-class families, Vice President Biden couldn’t be more out of touch with the state of the economy,” Ryan Williams, a spokesman for Romney, said in a statement. “After claiming yesterday, ‘the middle class is coming back,’ the vice president is now claiming that ‘Detroit is getting back up.’ But after nearly four years, middle-class families are struggling with lower income, fewer jobs, and increasing unemployment. The Romney-Ryan plan will provide 12 million new jobs, higher take-home pay and a brighter future for the middle class.”

While in Detroit Wednesday morning, the vice president had coffee with Michigan United Auto Workers leaders and, in the afternoon, he held two fundraisers in the Detroit area.

The vice president’s trip to Detroit came two days before Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, were set to campaign together in the state. A June NBC News/Marist Poll found President Obama ahead of Romney by four points.

The vice president shared the stage with a local phenom when he was introduced by Claressa Shields, a 17-year-old boxer from Flint, Mich., who won an Olympic gold medal in London earlier this month.

“We’ve had tough times in Michigan, but we never give up,” Shields said. “We just get up and keep going. We keep fighting with the president and vice president who’ve got our backs.”

While he attested to President Obama’s character with stories about their close relationship, the vice president also mentioned just how well he knew some of the other presidents.

“Folks, I can tell you I’ve known eight presidents, three of them intimately,” Biden said. “I have never, never once, in all the time I’ve been with this president … I’ve never once in the difficult decisions he’s had to make heard him ask me or anyone else, ‘What are the politics in this for me?’ Not one single time.”

Before departing the school, Biden posed for photos with the high school’s football team and offered them words of encouragement for their upcoming season.

“Hey guys, have a great season! Get up!” Biden said.

“Four more years!” one of the players shouted back.

“When you go to states, invite me. I’ll come!” Biden said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Does President Obama Want to Take Over Other Industries?

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- It’s no secret President Obama is proud of the taxpayer-funded government intervention that rescued U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler back in 2009. He regularly takes credit for the companies’ resurgent profitability and hiring as one of his top achievements.

Now, Republicans say Obama is suggesting on the campaign trail that he wants to do it again, this time in other sectors of the economy, in order to “get the hand of government driving every industry in America.”

“From his failed stimulus bill and Solyndra-esque boondoggles to picking winners and losers at taxpayer expense in the auto bailout, President Obama has pushed aside free-market principles in favor of bigger and more intrusive government,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Thursday after Obama ended his Colorado campaign swing.

Saul and the Romney campaign point to a line Obama used this week on the stump when discussing the auto bailout and his economic vision for the future as the basis for the claim.

In Pueblo, Colo., on Thursday, Obama said, “Now, I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.”

Later in Colorado Springs, Colo., he put it this way: “I want to say what we did with the auto industry, we can do it in manufacturing across America.”

Republicans interpreted Obama as proposing government bailouts for other industries, or at the least a more active federal government role in creating or supporting jobs -- concepts anathema to many conservatives.

The Obama campaign refuted the notion as political spin that does not reflect the president’s sentiment or intention, pointing to full context of the quote as evidence.

Here’s what Obama said, in context:

OBAMA IN PUEBLO: “We’ve got a bunch of examples of the differences, the choice in this election.  When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than one million jobs at stake, Gov. Romney said, let’s ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’  I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back and GM is number one again.   So now, I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.  I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China.  I want them taking root in places like Pueblo.  Gov. Romney brags about his private sector experience, but it was mostly investing in companies, some of which were called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  I don’t want to be a pioneer of outsourcing.  I want to in-source.  I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.”

OBAMA IN COLORADO SPRINGS: “This difference in vision, it shows up on all sorts of issues.  When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, one million jobs at stake, Mr. Romney said, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt.’  I said, let’s bet on America’s workers.  And we got management and workers to come together, making better cars than ever. And now, GM is number one again and the American auto industry has come roaring back.   So now, I want to say what we did with the auto industry, we can do it in manufacturing across America.  Let’s make sure advanced, high-tech manufacturing jobs take root here, not in China.  Let’s have them here in Colorado.  And that means supporting investment here.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Seniors Have Both High Hopes and Major Concerns About the Future

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Despite tough economic times, at least one group of Americans is bullish about their future. They’re the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964.

In a poll conducted of 2,250 people ages 60 and older by the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today, 75 percent of baby boomers believe life will continue to get better, due in large part to people working longer and advancements in healthcare.

However, their optimism is also tempered by some realism about the way the economy has stagnated, with a third of this group worried that they won’t be able to pay for long-term care, while 20 percent say that a major financial downturn would seriously affect their fiscal situation.

Just over seven in ten seniors earning under $30,000 annually, which is considered low income, admit to a lingering health problem and that they’re less likely to exercise than their more financially secure counterparts.

Meanwhile, about a fifth of seniors over the age of 65 are still working either full- or part-time, some because they want to, other because they have to in order to make ends meet.

“Aging in place” is another goal of most seniors -- that is, living in their own homes. Most people in their 60s say that it’s feasible to live independently, although less than half of folks in their 70s see that as a realistic possibility.

There’s another major concern brought up by the respondents in the survey -- that is, the availability of resources and services in their communities, with more than a fourth of people in their 60s worried that a lack of these services will make it more difficult to “age in place.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks Close Lower as Fed Delays Action on Economy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Federal Reserve's decision not to take immediate action to stimulate the economy helped drive stocks lower Wednesday.

The Dow closed at 12,976, a loss of 33 points. The Nasdaq lost 19 points, falling to 2,920, while the S&P gave up four points at 1375 as trading drew to a close.

While the Federal Reserve acknowledges that the economy has slowed since the beginning of the year, the Central Bank said Wednesday after its latest two-day policy meeting that it will refrain from taking new steps to help spur economic growth -- at least for now. There had been some hope on Wall Street that the Fed would be more proactive, most likely by buying more government bonds.  Any actions taken by the Federal Reserve before its next meeting in September will depend on a combination of further decline in economic activity and the outcome of a meeting by the Fed's European counterpart.  

Results at the conclusion of the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday may have a larger impact on U.S. markets than Wednesday's Fed decision.  The global markets rallied last week when ECB president Mario Draghi said that he would do "whatever it takes" to protect the euro.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Stocks End the Day Flat

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stock prices dropped after a bleak forecast on the economy from the head of the Fed, but recovered a bit to end the session.

While the Dow closed down 13 points and the S&P lost two points, the Nasdaq gained a fraction.

Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke says the economy's not growing as fast as the Central Bank would like to see.  For now, it'll continue its program aimed at keeping interest rates low with the hope of encouraging more borrowing and spending.

Bernanke complains that hiring is still sluggish.  A newly released survey shows that could be the case for a while.  The Business Roundtable says 36 percent of CEOs plan to add workers over the next six months. That's down from 42 percent when the survey was last taken three months ago.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Camp Accuses Romney of ‘Breathtaking Hypocrisy’ on Jobs

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(WASHINGTON) -- Which candidate for president inherited a contracting economy during his first term in office and presided over a gradual recovery that turned job losses to gains?

The answer: Both President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

How quickly those jobs were added and how the gains compared to those achieved by their predecessors and peers is, however, the subject of intense debate between the rival presidential campaigns.

Romney has assailed Obama for an unemployment rate lingering above eight percent and regularly blames him for a net loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs since taking office.

Obama has been hammering Romney for Massachusetts’ 47th out of 50 ranking in job growth when he was governor -- a rate below the national average and lower than when he took office, dragged down by job losses early in his term.

But Republicans, in defending Romney’s record, appear to be pushing a double standard -- effectively claiming the governor should not be judged for the losses in his first year in office while President Obama should.

Romney campaign advisers insist Democrats’ attack on Romney’s performance while governor, as featured in a new Obama campaign TV ad, glosses over what was an upward employment trend on Massachusetts jobs between 2003 and 2007.

“They’re averaging out over the four years so they’re bringing down the gains of his fourth year in office, which shows the real impact of his policies and diluting it with the first year in office when he came into office and it was 50th in job creation,” Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said on Fox News Sunday.

Labor Department data shows that in 2003, as Romney took office, Massachusetts ranked at the bottom of states in job creation. Four years later, it ranked 30th -- an upward trend seemingly lost in the average 47th ranking for 2003-2007 when Romney was in office.

“@MittRomney inherited a bad economy AND MADE IT BETTER,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said on Twitter. “Obama hasn’t. 4.7% vs 8.2% unemployment. #BigDifference.”

Democrats argue that if trends matter most -- particularly to account for inherited economic losses -- then the Romney campaign isn’t giving Obama credit where it’s due.

“They use a different standard to assess President Obama’s record,” says deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter in a new Web video. “We know he inherited an economy exponentially worse than what Mitt Romney inherited. Yet these same people blame the president for job losses that occurred in January 2009 -- the very month he was inaugurated and months before any of his policies took place.

“The hypocrisy is breathtaking, even for Romney,” she says.

The U.S. economy -- in the middle of an 18-month recession -- shed 800,000 jobs the month Obama took office and several months that followed.  Since March 2010, it has added private sector jobs each month, totaling 4.3 million jobs over 27 months, according to Labor Department data.

While Obama took office with unemployment at 7.8 percent, it was quickly on the climb, reaching 10 percent in October 2009 at the height of the recession. Since the February 2009 Recovery Act took effect and other economic stimulus measures followed, unemployment has slowly declined, now holding at 8.2 percent last month.

“President Obama took office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The country had lost nearly 4 million jobs in the six months before he took office,” Cutter says. “So the question really is, are they kidding? Or, do they expect people to take this seriously?”

While the campaigns duke it out over jobs records, however, voters may be more focused on whether they personally have a job and what the candidates’ plans mean for their future.

According to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 52 percent of Americans said the economy is the single most important issue in their vote, with preferences for Obama and Romney dividing along economic sentiment.

Among voters who are more hopeful than anxious about the country’s economic future, Obama leads Romney, 59 to 37 percent.  Those who are more anxious prefer Romney, 61 to 33.  (Fifty-seven percent of registered voters identify as more hopeful, according to the poll.)

A similar dynamic is seen among voters when asked about their view of the jobs picture in their area. The more jobs are seen as available, the more likely voters are to back Obama. Those who see a “very” difficult job picture back Romney, 63 to 33 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Honeywell CEO: Debt Biggest Drag on Jobs, Obama

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images (GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.) -- David M. Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, one of the nation’s largest and most profitable employers, Friday called looming massive debt in Europe and the U.S. -- and the lack of political will to deal with it -- the greatest drag on job creation around the country.

“This is a case with both parties where they say, ‘Boy, am I glad the hole is on your side of the boat.’ But we’re all in the same boat, and the hole needs to get fixed,” Cote said in an interview with ABC News ahead of President Obama’s visit to the Honeywell facility in Minnesota.

“The debt creates a lot of uncertainty. It just causes people, investors, to say, ‘Ah, I think I’m going to wait.  And as long as you get enough people saying [that] then you end up getting this slowdown,” he said, referring to the May jobs report that showed an anemic 69,000 jobs created last month.

“We need to be making investors feel confident again … and you do that by addressing European debt and the U.S. debt,” he said.

Cote, whom Obama appointed to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (a.k.a. the Bowles-Simpson Commission) in 2010, has long advocated an elixir of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and tax hikes to fix the problem.

He voted in favor of the commission’s draft plan, which included those elements. But it failed to receive support from enough of the panel’s 18 members to receive a formal endorsement. Neither Obama nor Congressional leaders in either party embraced the entirety of the committee’s plan.

Asked what advice he might have for Obama on how to improve the jobs picture, Cote demurred on specifics but said the president already knows the answer “very well.”

“He understands we need to get to a point where we resolve the debt on both sides of the ocean. That is the most compelling big thing we can do. Everything else we talk about is little stuff compared to that,” he said. “That is the big nut.”

But if Obama’s message on jobs and the economy Friday was any indication, that is not at the top of his pitch to the American people.  While at Honeywell, the president Friday continued to call for a patchwork of new tax incentives and spending programs to boost job growth.

“If we don’t resolve our own debt problem, it would be very easy to foresee a five-year future of two percent GDP growth and eight percent unemployment,” Cote warned.

Speaking of Honeywell’s hiring outlook as an example, Cote said, “We’re still going to be cautious hirers, generally, for the same reasons that we just talked about. You can’t be positive about the economic environment going forward, so it causes all of us, when you see a slow orders picture, you have to be very careful on hiring.”

Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, is a $38 billion operation that employs 132,000 workers around the globe, including roughly 60,000 in the U.S., according to a company fact sheet. It creates and manufactures high-tech consumer products, including turbochargers for cars, thermostats for homes and navigation controls for commercial planes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Gives Congress To-Do List on Jobs, Economy

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ALBANY, N.Y.) -- Jabbing Congress for its inaction, President Obama Tuesday outlined an election-year “to-do list” for lawmakers, urging them to act on his proposals to boost the economy and spur job growth.

“I know this is an election year, but it’s not an excuse for inaction. Six months is plenty of time for Democrats and Republicans to get together and do the right thing, taking steps that will spur additional job creation right now,” the president told students at the State University of New York in Albany.

The president is using his “handy little to-do list” to portray Republicans in Congress as standing in the way of his economic agenda. “Just saying no to ideas that we know will help our economy isn’t an option.  There’s too much at stake,” he said. “So even if Republicans are still saying no to some of the bigger proposals...there are some additional ideas that could help people get to work right now and that they haven’t said no to yet.  So I’m hoping they say yes.”

Flanked by screens broadcasting an image of his checklist on a Post-it note, the president seemed to mock gridlocked lawmakers. “Every member of Congress should have time to read it and they can glance at it every so often.  And hopefully we’ll just be checking off the list, just like when Michelle gives me a list, I check it off,” he said to laughter from the audience.

The five items on the president’s wish list are all measures he has previously proposed but that have failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill. The list includes eliminating tax incentives to ship jobs overseas and tax credits for clean energy and small businesses.

Obama is also asking for help to create a “Veterans Job Corps” and for lawmakers to act on his latest plan to help homeowners refinance mortgages at lower interest rates.

In the weeks to come, the president said he will continue to urge Congress to act on these measures, which he said “will help accelerate our economy and put people back to work -- not in November, not in next year, but right now.”

While Tuesday’s speech was an official presidential event, Obama managed to sneak in his new “forward” campaign theme.

“We’ve got a long way to go if we’re going to make sure everybody who wants a job can find one and every family can feel that sense of security that was the essence of America’s middle-class experience. But we can’t just go back to the way things used to be.  We’ve got to move forward to an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules,” he said.

“That’s what you guys are doing here in Albany.  You’re investing in your future.  You’re not going backwards. You’re going forward,” the president said.

But Senate Republicans Tuesday blasted Obama's "to-do list," saying that it comes 3 1/2 years too late.
“Instead of him proposing a to-do list for Congress, we have a to-stop for him,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. said Tuesday. “And one is to stop the job-killing regulations that are strangling small businesses in this country, stop making it more expensive and more difficult to create jobs for America's small businesses, stop proposing tax increases on the job creators that are out there, stop blocking the Keystone pipeline that would help move America toward energy independence, and stop this class warfare, which is just destructive to the debate that we have in this country."
Thune says Republicans would rather focus on policies that would help the unemployment rate, gas prices and health care costs.
“Those are things that we would love to work with this president on when it comes to moving the country forward, rather than his to-do list that is 3 1/2 years too late,” Thune said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


April Unemployment Falls to 8.1 Percent, 115,000 Jobs Added

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON ) -- Employers added 115,000 jobs in April, fewer than economists expected. Still, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Economists had expected to add about 165,000 jobs, according to a consensus figure from Bloomberg.

"The unemployment rate is not materially changing, which is disappointing since privately held companies have continued to grow their sales and are generally the engine of job growth," said Brian Hamilton, CEO of Sageworks and a leading expert on privately held companies. "This probably reflects continued anxiety about the economy and where it will be 12 months from now. We are 34 months into an expansion and an 8.1 percent unemployment rate is too high at this point."

Employers added 120,000 jobs in March, a disappointing amount, which showed the jobless rate at 8.2 percent. But the Labor Department revised the March figure upward on Friday to 155,000.

Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing, the government said.

On Thursday, the Labor Department reported people filing for unemployment benefits fell last week. After inching higher during the last few weeks, the jobless claims fell to 365,000 for the week ending April 28, down from 392,000 in the prior week.

Hiring among U.S. private employers dropped in April to the lowest level in seven months, payroll company ADP reported on Wednesday.

Among the major worker groups, teenagers have the highest unemployment rate, but the imminent summer hiring season may make a dent in that figure.

In April, teenagers had a 24.9 percent unemployment rate, compared with a 7.5 percent for adult men and 7.4 percent among adult women.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Private Hiring Slowed in April, ADP Reports

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Hiring among United States employers dropped in April with the fewest jobs added in seven months, sending a foreboding signal ahead of the Labor Department’s jobs report on Friday.

Private employers added 119,000 jobs in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, down from the revised 201,000 jobs added in March, said payroll company ADP on Wednesday.

The service sector saw some of the highest gains, with an increase of 123,000 jobs in April—down from 158,000 in March.

Manufacturing employment fell 5,000 jobs in April, the first loss since September. The construction sector’s employment also fell by 5,000 jobs, the first decline in seven months, following “healthy gains during the unusually warm winter months,” ADP reported.

The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent after 120,000 jobs were added in March, according to the Labor Department in early April. Economists are expecting a consensus of 165,000 jobs added for April in Friday’s report, keeping the unemployment rate unchanged, according to Bloomberg.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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