The most anticipated news of the month, excepting perhaps the President's decision on Afghanistan, has just been released: Unemployment has remained steady at 10%.
Just for perspective, this still places U.S. unemployment 1% higher than that in France. The rate in October was 10.2%, reflecting a monthly loss of 190,000 jobs, as compared to November's 11,000 losses. The slowing monthly pace of losses continued for the 5th week, leading the AP and Forbes to speculate that a "turning point is near," though even stemming the hemorrhage offers little hope for subsequent job growth.
Such measured optimism was reflected yesterday by the Dow's last-minute, 87 point drop, as investors anticipated today's announcement. (NOTE: The Dow recovered this morning.) To brace the country for today's news, Obama hosted a "jobs summit" with academians and corporate titans last night. Expectations going in were low, and reactions have tended to be cynical (Business Insiders prays the summit was only a "PR charade"). Weakly denying the failure of the Democrat's $787 billion stimulus package, Obama advanced modest, joint efforts with private business as an alternative to a second (or third) stimulus package.
Today, Obama launches a multi-city "Main Street Tour" in Allentown, PA, to take the nation's economic "temperature." His reception promises to be "frosty." Scott Ott's satire of the President's likely approach to today's meeting is all too brilliant. From the Afghanistan speech to the Jobs Summit to today's likely non-starter, Obama's spark has demonstrably faded. Even entranced by soaring rhetoric - potentially the only gift preventing Obama from being perceived as an empty shirt - the public was bound to eventually notice it's own financial pains. But if Obama has caught a case of laryngitis...