News / Economy

Improving US Economy May Help President

Improving US Economy May Help Presidenti
X
January 25, 2014 12:05 AM
As President Obama prepares to give a key annual address to the nation, he faces political problems that have hurt his approval ratings. Experts say he may get some political help over the next year, as a gradually improving U.S. economy helps heal the battered housing sector and reduces unemployment. VOA’s Jim Randle reports.
Improving US Economy May Help President
As President Obama prepares to give a key annual address to the nation, he faces political problems that have hurt his approval ratings. Experts say he may get some political help over the next year, as a gradually improving U.S. economy helps heal the battered housing sector and reduces unemployment.

Severe problems in the housing sector contributed to the recession that threw millions of Americans out of work and out of their homes.

Without jobs, they could not pay mortgages, so banks evicted families and tried to sell houses to recover the loan money. A glut of unsold homes pushed down prices, hurting homeowners, banks, and the overall economy.

But now the economy is growing again, and home sales are up, according to RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist, who spoke to VOA via Skype. "We saw a great bounceback in the housing market in 2013 in terms of prices, home price appreciation, and sales," he said.

Blomquist said prices rose as investors bought houses, and families got back into the market, though he expects the market to improve more slowly this year.

The president may talk about gains in the housing market and the improving unemployment situation in this year's State of the Union speech.  

When he took office, unemployment centers were busy and the jobless rate was headed above 10 percent.
It took years for the unemployment rate to fall to the current 6.7 percent, which still leaves more than 10 million people out of work.  Four million of them have been jobless for six months or longer, which is worse than previous recessions.  

But recent economic reports show growth, construction, manufacturing, consumer confidence and other important measures mostly improving. They also show the jobless rate heading down in the future.  

Aparna Mathur, who researches the economy at the American Enterprise Institute, said, "The long-term trend suggests we are heading in the right direction. We might reach pre-recession [unemployment]  levels of five percent over the next couple of years “
 
Many economists say presidents usually get too much blame when the economy goes badly - and too much credit when things go well.

The chief economist for the Associated General Contractors, Ken Simonson, said it is mostly private business, rather than the government, that drives the economy. But he said things have gotten better on Obama's watch. "I'm sure that he will take credit for the sharp drop in unemployment rates that we have seen in recent months and for the gradual, but always positive, change in jobs over the last three and a half years."  

Simonson pointed out, though, that the president's Republican rivals certainly will be quick to offer a rebuttal -- and point out that the jobless rate remains higher than what most Americans view as normal.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.