By Howard Schneider and Chris Kahn
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans’ support for President Donald Trump’s management of the economy has slipped, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows, challenging a bedrock re-election argument laid out at the Republican National Convention this week.
About 58% of respondents said the U.S. economy is on the wrong track in a survey taken August 19 through 25th.
And for the first time this year, Trump’s net approval on economic issues dipped into negative territory, with 47% saying they approved of his stewardship of the American economy and 48% saying they disapproved. That is down from an approval margin of 14 percentage points in late March.
While the poll shows Trump still has an edge with voters over Democratic opponent Joe Biden on the economy, the results highlight the risks the Republican Party is taking by leaning on memories of last year’s strong economy and arguing that Trump will easily be able to restore it.
“Our economic choice is very clear. Do you want economic health, prosperity, opportunity and optimism, or do you want to turn back to the dark days of stagnation, recession and pessimism?” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said at the convention on Tuesday night.
“Who do you trust to rebuild this economy?,” Vice President Mike Pence asked Wednesday night. “A career politician who presided over the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression? Or a proven leader who created the greatest economy in the world?”
BOUNCE AHEAD, BUT THEN WHAT?
Looking to the fall, just as the U.S. witnessed a historic drop https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-instant/us-second-quarter-gdp-falls-at-steepest-rate-since-great-depression-idUSKCN24V2GJ in gross domestic product from April through June, Trump will be able to trumpet a record increase – equivalent to perhaps 25% on an annualized basis – when statistics are released in October covering the July to September period.
Neither data point, products of a deliberate shutdown of the economy in March and the automatic impact of reopening from that sudden stop, say much about the economic fortunes of families and businesses during the first months of the pandemic, or in the weeks to come.
The coronavirus health crisis, with nearly 6 million infected and over 175,000 Americans dead, is still raging. The onset of the conventional flu season is on the horizon, and an experiment underway in reopening schools and colleges is already leading to new spikes in infections.
Consumer confidence, which can influence future economic activity, remains weak. The national unemployment rate at 10.2% in July is the highest in 39 years, and improvement seems to be slowing. Nearly 15 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits, the highest on record and double the number hit during the 2007 to 2009 Great Recession.
The blow has been received hardest among groups including blacks, Hispanics and women who benefited most from last year’s record low unemployment rate. Continued support among white women in particular will be critical to Trump’s electoral chances.
TRUMP EDGE OVER BIDEN
The Reuters/Ipsos poll found most voters would not currently back Biden on the economy.
Trump’s team has been hammering Biden’s discussion of tax policies to pay for rising government debt due to the Trump administration’s earlier tax cuts.
Among registered voters, Trump still has a five-point edge over Biden in who would be better to manage the economy.
But the poll also found 30% of Republicans felt the economy was on the wrong track, the highest since February 2018 when Reuters/Ipsos started tracking the question.
The poll gathered responses from 4,428 American adults, including 1,929 Democrats, 1,750 Republicans and 430 independents. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of between 2-5 percentage points.
If the economic impact of the pandemic has been in some ways less severe than feared, with household spending returning to pre-pandemic levels and Americans boosting their savings, it is only because of massive government spending and a larger federal footprint in the economy.
Both Republican and Democratic leaning economists feel much more federal help and a larger federal footprint will be needed to avoid a deeper slide this fall – steps that Trump would have to embrace even as he tries to brand Biden a “socialist.”
The lapse of $600 a week unemployment benefits, the expiration of loans for small businesses, and the lack of help for state and local governments may in short order pull the rug from economic data that has been more positive than expected since a wave of business lockdowns and social distancing measures in April.
A Census survey in July said reported “food insecurity” rose more than 20% early in the pandemic, reaching nearly 30 million.
As former Fed chair Janet Yellen and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities senior adviser Jared Bernstein said in a New York Times column, a lot more people are hungry.
Both have been briefing Biden on economic issues, and wrote that without further federal spending, “millions of needy Americans will suffer — and the overall economy could degrade from its current slow rebound in growth to no growth at all.”
(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)
U.S. September job report is going to show economy entering a weaker phase – MarketWatch
American households are used to television dramas where difficult problems are resolved in one hour, or perhaps eight one-hour episodes on Netflix.
So it is with the economy, and there is a growing perception the U.S. economy has been suffering for long enough that the worst must be behind us.
Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, said he routinely comes across people now who think the economy is out of the woods, given that the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.4% a peak of 15%.
They don’t seem to realize that the unemployment rate is still higher than the peak unemployment rate of prior recessions, Daco said, in an interview.
The fact is that even after what has been a fairly strong first phase of recovery, the economy has only recovered to reach levels close to the worst part of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, he added.
The economy now is closer to the gnarly 2009 period than the slow but steady recovery of 2014-2016.
“I think that is often times an eye opener for clients,” he said.
Daco said the September jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department due this coming Friday will signal the economy is entering a critical phase, with less assistance from government and a number of uncertainties from the November elections, the coronavirus pandemic, and uncertain financial markets.
“There are a number of risks and we are going into the fall without much insulation,” he said.
The rough consensus among economists is for September nonfarm payroll gains to moderate to slightly under one million in September from 1.37 million gains in the prior month.
Daco is forecasting a sharper slowdown to a gain of 600,000 jobs. He sees the unemployment rate dipping to 8%, but due in part to workers giving up looking for work and dropping out of the labor force.
While 600,000 jobs would be considered strong in an ordinary environment, it is not strong enough to put a dent in the 11 million Americans who have lost jobs during the pandemic and millions more who are underemployed, he said.
“I continue to view the glass as half-empty. We’re still a long ways from where we were pre-Covid,” Daco said.
Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp., thinks it may be hard to gauge the strength of the September report given the technical cross-currents in the data.
September is usually the month that summer vacation resort employment declines as the season ends, and without those job losses this year, the reported gain might look stronger. In addition, there was also a decline in temporary census workers in the month that may skew the data to the downside.
The job report will be released Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on October 2. There will also be critical data during the week on the manufacturing sector for September from IHS Markit and ISM on Thursday, and on consumer spending and inflation for August.
Alberta cities warned 'fiscal reckoning' is ahead as COVID-19 shakes economy – Calgary Herald
Article content continued
In the UCP government’s fall budget that year, cities saw their capital transfers and grants slashed, with Edmonton and Calgary taking the largest reductions.
AUMA president Barry Morishita said Thursday that the organization is looking forward to “resetting” the relationship between the advocacy group and the minister. AUMA declared its relationship with Madu “broken” over the summer after he didn’t respond to concerns on changes to local election rules and passed amendments into law over its objections.
In prerecorded remarks, Premier Jason Kenney touted the province’s infrastructure stimulus plan — $500 million that will be doled out to cities for projects that will spur job creation. Calgary is submitting a list of projects for a total of $152.8 million in funding.
But the premier also scolded local governments that have not embraced pro-growth policies. He said he wouldn’t “name names” but revealed a manufacturer complained that a municipal noise bylaw is preventing it from setting up shop.
“In the depth of a crisis like this, those 400 jobs matter a lot more than a few noise complaints from local residents,” he said.
He added cities should focus on getting rid of “unnecessary rules, red tape and costs” that might stand in the way of job creation.
“When I speak to major business leaders about prospective investment in Alberta, very often a message that I hear back is the greatest impediments they’ve experienced are at the local level, at the municipal level,” he said.
Climate activists demanding quick transition to a green economy in Quebec – Global News
Two Okanagan families are in a financial and literal hole after a pool contractor allegedly took their money and skipped town.
“We hired a contractor back in late May, he came in and did all the excavation work,” said Steve Croxford, a Kelowna resident.
“He told us he had all the permits in place to get going.”
However, the contractor had no permits, according to the city.
It’s a case of buyer beware after Stephana Johnson and her neighbour Steve Croxford found what they thought was ‘a great deal’ after finding a pool contractor on Facebook.
They decided to hire the same contractor to build both of their pools in neighbouring yards.
What happened soon after construction began was a shock.
“That’s where he’s abandoned it basically, we paid him approximately half of the money for the pool,” said Croxford.
The two families said they hired a man who calls himself Jared or J-Hay and his company Pyramid Pools.
The pool contractor promised them two finished underground pools within four weeks — it’s now been almost four months.
Global News talked to multiple pool companies in Kelowna who say they’ve heard of this fly-by-night pool contractor who’s left multiple people high and dry.
Shortly after the alleged fraudster skipped out on the job, the city sent an inspector to their properties.
They issued a cease work order on Aug. 1st and the property owners say the city demanded a 71,000 dollar bond and ordered them to remove the massive dirt pile that was left on city property.
“We’re really hoping the city helps us as much as they can,” said Stephana Johnson, a Kelowna resident.
“As law-abiding citizens that we are, we want to do nothing but clean it up.”
RCMP had no comment about the possible fraud that has been reported to them and the city says it’s working to resolve the issue.
Power has now been restored to 3,900 customers in the Kelowna area following a powerful wind storm Wednesday night
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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