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Politics and more at play in painful job numbers
European troubles an ‘unwelcome truth’
Question of the Day
Just when the American economy was looking like a global bright spot, a spate of bad news last week showed that the U.S. also has succumbed to a major slowdown — sending President Obama and his team scrambling to explain Friday’s disappointing unemployment numbers.
The economy, the president acknowledged after Friday’s Labor Department report, is “not growing as fast as we want it to grow.”
The news that job growth in May shrank to an anemic 69,000 is the latest evidence of a slowdown that economists blame on three key obstacles to global recovery: the spike in global oil prices, the European debt crisis and the looming possibility of a long-term debt deal stalemate in Washington.
Those threats once again prompted businesses to pull back hiring in the spring, as they did last year, economists said.
Executives apparently feared that consumers would fold under the weight of pump prices around $4 a gallon on average in April, though they have fallen back since then. Meanwhile, they worried that demand for U.S. products overseas will be quashed by a recession in Europe and major slowdown in China, Brazil and elsewhere in the developing world.
In Washington, Republican critics of Mr. Obama pounced on the disappointing numbers.
“This administration, the policies are hostile to job growth,” Mr. Gillespie said. “The only thing that’s going to change it is changing the policies, and that means changing the person in the White House.”
But economists said there’s more than politics at play.
“The U.S. economy can’t entirely remain an island in a sea of troubles,” said Cliff Walden, senior economist at the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation.
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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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