Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

It's the Economy

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

It's the Economy

Article excerpt

THE jobs report landed with a thud on Friday, bringing the bad news that job creation slowed way down last month while the federal unemployment rate creeped up to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April.

The somber numbers erased any optimism left over from the first quarter, January to March, when the stock market rallied in a delightfully vigorous way and the sluggish economy appeared to be kicking into gear.

In another bleak measurement, the economy grew by 1.9 percent through March, slower than first estimated. Economists think that rate will increase some through June, to possibly top out at 2.5 percent, and could even maintain that level for a while. Better. But that isn't enough to pump up hiring in a way that would significantly reduce unemployment.

This is the desiccated landscape that President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney find themselves in as they head into the heat of campaign season. Advantage Romney. The Republican wasted no time on Friday posting on his website that the latest jobs and growth numbers, combined with low consumer confidence, are "a harsh indictment of the President's handling of the economy."

But Romney, too, will have a tough time proving that his experience and ideas will turn the ship around. The economy has been a mess since George W. Bush, a Republican, was president, and Romney will have the burden of his stint as governor of Massachusetts to deal with. Job creation in the Bay State ranked among the bottom in the nation under Romney; and for his first budget, in 2004, Romney raised $750 million in new revenue -- about half from corporate tax increases and half in fee increases, according to the nonpartisan Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. Nothing for Romney to boast about to his conservative base, especially the increase in firearms registration fees. …

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