All Hail Obama! (on CNN’s FRONT homepage)
The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it appears that the U.S. economy has halted the longest period of decline since the Great Depression, although it cautioned that economic activity is likely to remain weak in the near term.
Retail sales disappointed in July and the number of newly laid-off Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits rose unexpectedly last week. The latest government reports reinforced concerns about how quickly consumers will be able to contribute to a broad economic recovery.
“There is really no positive spin to put on these numbers,” Jennifer Lee, an economist with BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a research note. “The U.S. consumer remains very weak. The jobs situation, while slowly improving, is still dismal.”
Two key reports Thursday showed one thing: happy days are not here again for American consumers.
Retail sales fell in July after two straight months of gains, the government reported Thursday, a drop that surprised economists. Without car sales from the “Cash for Clunkers,” the numbers would have been even worse.
And Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, reported an unexpected decline in its key measure of U.S. sales.
“From a consumer finance position, people are still struggling,” said Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economics for Moody’s Economy.com. “Wages have fallen from the previous year and consumers don’t [still] have alternative sources of cash.”
Yes, all hail. You know, those Obama hailstones are really starting to hurt.