Saturday, June 05, 2010

Silence Can Be Golden

President Obama can come across as remarkably tone deaf at times. There are times to be a cheerleader, and times to just leave a subject alone. His take on the latest employment numbers, from Bloomberg today,

“Workers who are laid off -- they’re starting to get their jobs back,” Obama said at a truck factory in Hyattsville, Maryland. The economy is “getting stronger by the day,” he said. “There’s no doubt that we saw another month of private sector job growth,” Obama said. “An economy that was shrinking at a scary rate” is now growing, he said. “The question now is how do we keep this momentum going.”

The same article followed that with its own conclusions,

The president spoke less than two hours after the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers hired fewer workers in May than forecast, suggesting a lack of confidence in the recovery that may lead to slower economic growth.

The Charlotte Observer remarked on the stock market’s reaction to the same employment numbers that Obama was apparently cheered by and referring to as “momentum,”

The markets were sent skidding after the Labor Department's report on job growth in May fell short of expectations. While the economy added 431,000 jobs, more than 90 percent of the new jobs were in government - and most of them were temporary positions to help conduct the 2010 census.

And the Wall Street Journal, in an article in today's issue headlined "Hiring Recovery Sputters," was far less optimistic than Obama,

Private employers did little hiring last month, undermining hopes that the economic recovery was gathering pace and helping send U.S. stocks down more than 3% on the day.

The Labor Department said Friday that 431,000 jobs were added in May. But the vast majority were temporary workers hired by the government to conduct the 2010 Census. Private-sector employment rose by only 41,000, the smallest monthly increase since January. Without faster private-sector job growth, the U.S. faces a bumpy recovery restrained by households with little income to spend.

Renewed fears about U.S. growth and the financial turmoil in Europe sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 323.31 points…

My grandmother, well, probably everybody’s grandmother, used to advise that if one cannot say something good it is better to remain silent. Perhaps Mr. Obama’s grandmother should have been a little more specific.

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