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
    Jim Randle
    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

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8742
    JPY
    USD
    107.09
    GBP
    USD
    0.6893
    CAD
    USD
    1.2820
    INR
    USD
    66.504

    Rates may not be current.