Economic Indicators at Election Eve — White House: `Right Direction’

Photograph by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Workers build a wing tip for a C-5 cargo plane at the CPI Aerostructures Inc. manufacturing facility in Edgewood, New York.

Updated at 10:45 am EDT

Gross domestic product up.

Unemployment down.

Housing starts up.

Consumer confidence up.

With one more federal report on employment to come the Friday before Election Day, Nov. 6.

All told, a series of indicators on the eve of the 2012 presidential election, a contest virtually tied in national polling and hotly contested in the handful of swing states that will determine the outcome, is favoring the president.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney will campaign in the most pivotal of all states today — Ohio — with an economic message. Romney’s response to the most recent trends has been that things — including unemployment dipping to 7.8 percent at last report, the lowest since Obama took office following the worst recession since the Great Depression — would have been a lot better without President Barack Obama’s insistence on the policies he pursued, such as passage of the health care act which Romney calls a jobs-killer.

Alan Krueger,  chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued this statement from the White House:

“Today’s report shows that the economy posted its thirteenth straight quarter of positive growth, as real GDP (the total amount of goods and services produced in the country) grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter of this year, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  Over the last thirteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 7.2 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 10.1 percent. While we have more work to do, together with other economic indicators, this report provides further evidence that the economy is moving in the right direction.

The economy expanded more than forecast in the third quarter, paced by a pickup in consumer spending, a rebound in government outlays and gains in residential construction, as Bloomberg’s Shobhana Chandra reports today.

Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., rose at a 2 percent annual rate after climbing 1.3 percent in the prior quarter, Commerce Department figures show.

And a housing rebound is helping mend Americans’ finances and confidence, indicating the pickup in demand for expensive items such as automobiles can be sustained, Chandra reports, adding: The data is likely to play a role in the upcoming election, allowing Obama to say the economy is heading in the right direction, while challenger Romney argues the growth is not fast enough.

“The household side is doing better, that comes through pretty clearly,” says Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist in New York for Barclays Plc, who correctly forecast the rate of growth. “Housing, which was in a deep hole, is also expanding. The fact that both of these are improving is an encouraging sign.”



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