GRIMNESS, GRIMNESS, GRIMNESS – AT 10:01 A.M. ET: Sure, we're in an economic recovery. Can't you see it everywhere? From The New York Times:
Global stock markets tumbled Thursday as investor pessimism about the outlook for the United States and European economies was deepened by weak data for the euro zone and a grim assessment from the Federal Reserve.
“Today, we really seem to be stuck in a negative spiral,” said Matthias Jasper, head of equities at WGZ Bank in Düsseldorf. “Investors just want to keep their exposure low and watch from the sidelines.”
In the opening minutes of Wall Street trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 301.06, or 2.7 percent, 10.823.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lost 2.6 percent, and the Nasdaq composite was down 2.7 percent.
In afternoon trading Thursday in Europe, the benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 index, the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC-40 in Paris were all down between 4 and 5 percent.
And this, from Bloomberg:
More Americans than forecast filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments last week as the labor market struggled to improve.
Applications for jobless benefits decreased 9,000 in the week ended Sept. 17 to 423,000, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 420,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The average number of claims in the past month rose for a fifth straight week, to the highest level since July 16.
An elevated level of dismissals raises the odds U.S. companies may put off plans to increase employment, making it difficult for joblessness to fall below 9 percent. Citing ongoing weakness in the labor market, Federal Reserve policy makers announced yesterday they would use another unconventional monetary tool to spur economic growth and job gains.
“These numbers are consistent with a job market that is essentially in suspended animation,” said Brian Jones, an economist Societe Generale in New York, who correctly forecast the level of claims. “Anything that the Fed does to help the economy should help the labor market, but it takes time. We’ve got to see job growth before we can get more demand.”
COMMENT: It gets more and more grim. The administration is clueless, and, frankly, I'm not sure the Republicans have any great answers. We seem to be in uncharted territory.
All this agony will undoubtedly come up at the Republican debate tonight. It is in the area of "business" that Romney has his advantage. We'll see if he can exploit it.
September 22, 2011