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“The pent-up demand for cars and housing is a potential source of strength for the economy,” he said. “In some cases, job gains are feeding upon itself. The bounce in retail sales and housing are creating service jobs through the multiplier effect. Service employment rose 119,000.”

Blaming Bush

Mr. Obama is addressing the economic sluggishness by arguing that the economic “mess” left to him by the George W. Bush administration following the financial crisis of 2008 was so great that in four years the economy has only had time to progress part way down the path of recovery. The housing market and other key sectors will take more time to mend and get over the once-in-a-century trauma they went through, he says, asking voters to give him more time to “finish the job.”

“You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades,” Mr. Obama said in his speech Thursday night accepting the Democratic nomination for a second term.

Andrew B. Busch, a public policy strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said the “finish the job” argument “will be extremely potent” with voters if the recovery stays intact and gathers steam in the weeks leading up to the election.

“It is the strongest case for re-electing Obama,” said Mr. Busch, who personally favors Republican candidates.

Lance Roberts, CEO of StreetTalk Advisors LLC, said the 11 percent gain in the stock market this year is a “silver lining in the gray cloud that is the economy” for Mr. Obama.

“If you have invested in the markets, you probably made some money” during Mr. Obama’s term, he said, and that bolsters consumer confidence, although he added that the markets remain vulnerable to reversals that could hurt the president before the election.

“Employment is the biggest concern for the current administration, as companies are sitting on cash and not hiring,” he said. But Mitt Romney “still has to prove he is the right leader to create jobs.”