Wednesday November 26, 2014

September could be bumpy with Obama’s jobs speech, next Fed meeting

Economic officials and business leaders are bracing for September, particularly in anticipation of Obama’s job-creation proposals and economic growth.

With the end of summer approaching, MarketWatch reports that economic officials, business leaders, and other decision-makers are bracing themselves the sometimes-volatile month of September and beyond. The publication notes that next month “is likely to be particularly volatile as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke deferred any new simulative action until the now two-day Fed meeting on Sept. 20 and 21. . . . Also, International Monetary Fund leader Christine Lagarde said the global economy was in a dangerous phase while Kansas City Fed President Thomas Hoenig, said last week that the Fed, ‘can’t do it all,’ adding further to the uncertainty facing us as we leave the dog days of summer behind.” This week will bring a number of economic reports that could make the September Fed meeting seem far, far away, including consumer confidence, factory orders, home sales, and the very important non-farm payrolls report on Friday.

The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, states that Alan Krueger, President Obama’s pick to head the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will likely serve as a White House advocate for more aggressive government intervention to revive job growth. “Many Democrats are calling for more government spending or tax cuts to stimulate stronger growth,” the Journal notes, “but many Republicans are demanding deeper spending cuts to reduce the growing federal debt.” Obama is planning to deliver a speech next week after the Labor Day weekend on proposals to spur job creation.

As for that speech, the Associated Press notes that the President “is preparing a September jobs package with limited tools at his disposal to prime the economy and crank up employment.” At the absolute minimum, Obama will urge Congress to extend current payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits, as well as offer incentives to companies to hire more workers. However, economists lament that “while that would eliminate some drag on the economy and maintain the status quo, it won’t be enough to propel it to new heights.” They further note that Obama’s plan will almost certainly be far less ambitious than the $825 billion stimulus of two years ago, which passed when the U.S. economy was still shrinking and unemployment was at 8.2 percent. Today, by contrast, the economy is growing sluggishly but unemployment measured 9.2 percent as of last month.

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