Just days after returning from a week of travel, President Obama is making headlines this morning with his announcement that the country’s unemployment problems are not likely to improve any time soon.
"My expectation is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months," Mr. Obama told reporters after a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.
According to a new article from the Wall Street Journal, “unemployment stood at 9.5% nationwide last month, a rate that has prompted calls for additional stimulus measures, as well as criticism that the earlier $787 billion package has so far failed to create jobs. Mr. Obama, who has said he believes joblessness will soon hit 10%, will visit Michigan later Tuesday, a state already dealing with double-digit unemployment.”
While he said he doesn't have a "crystal ball," Mr. Obama said he anticipates unemployment will follow historical trends and lag "for some time" even after an economic recovery begins.
On the positive side, he said the U.S. has "seen some stabilization in the financial markets, and that's good because that means companies can borrow and banks are starting to lend again."
"The challenge for this administration is to make sure that even as we are stabilizing the financial system, we understand that the most important thing in the economy is people able to find good jobs that pay good wages," Mr. Obama said.
With the economy stalling, and the administration’s recent admission that they had underestimated the scope of the troubled economy it is no wonder that experts are beginning to question Obama. According to a story on CBS News, “Obama’s economic forecasts for long-term growth are too optimistic, many economists warn, a miscalculation that would mean budget deficits will be much higher than the administration is now acknowledging.”
Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a POLITICO interview that the administration—like many independent economists—did not fully anticipate the severity and pace of this recession. She said the White House will be updating its official forecasts.
The new numbers will come as part of a semiannual review that, under ordinary circumstances, is the kind of earnest-but-dull document that causes many Washington eyes to glaze over.