Nothing is going right for President Obama this spring. Between the GSA/Vegas scandal, the Secret Service/hooker scandal, and rising gas prices, the headlines have been dominated by stories that put his administration in a bad light. The one thing Obama did have going for him, a growing economy, now appears to be turning south too. Reuters reports:
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The prior week's data was revised to show 8,000 more applications received than previously reported.
The four-week moving average for new claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends, rose 5,500 to 374,750.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims falling to 370,000 last week.
To recap, compared to what the Labor Department actually reported last week, unemployment claims rose this week. The only reason Labor can now report a decline is because they revised last week's number up by 8,000. And they will probably end up revising this week's number up too. Labor has had to advise their new claims estimate upwards every week this year.
Bottom line, whatever momentum the economy was showing this winter either never really happened (and was really just a mirage of government modeling) or is now stalling out.
If Obama is going to generate some good news between now and election day, it does not appear that it will come from the economy.