News Column

The Economy and the Election: Cohen Column

Oct. 30, 2012

Isaac Cohen --

Last week, the Federal Reserve held the last meeting of its Open Market Committee before the presidential election. The committee recognized that U.S. economic growth is still not strong enough to generate sustained improvement in labor market conditions.

The Commerce Department, by the end of the week, confirmed that economic growth, during the third quarter from July to September, was 2 percent. This was better than 1.3 percent growth in the previous quarter, but still insufficient to push down more decisively the unemployment rate. According to the Federal Reserve, unemployment at 7.8 percent remains elevated.

On a yearly basis, economic growth for the first three quarters of this year reached 1.7 percent, almost the same as 1.8 percent in 2011 and much less than 2.4 percent in 2010. These numbers indicate that the U.S. economy is undergoing a very slow recovery. Even so, in present conditions, this still is a better performance when compared to other advanced economies, such as the European recession, or almost no growth in Japan.

However, it's evident that the weak performance of the U.S. economy does not support the reelection of President Obama. In fact, history shows that no incumbent president has been reelected with such a high unemployment rate since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was twice reelected in 1936 and 1940.

Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.

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Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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