Bad economic news continues to roll in. AP reports today, “U.S. industrial production fell in August by the largest amount in more than three years as factories produced fewer cars and other manufactured goods and Hurricane Isaac triggered shutdowns along the Gulf Coast. Industrial production dropped 1.2 percent last month compared to July, the Federal Reserve said Friday. It was the biggest setback since a 1.7 percent decline in March 2009 when the country was in recession. Manufacturing output, the most important component of industrial production, fell 0.7 percent, led by a 4 percent drop in output at auto plants. . . . U.S. factory activity shrank for a third straight month in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s closely watched survey of manufacturing conditions.”
This follows a report earlier this week that, as Pew put it, “The median income of American households decreased by as much in the two years after the official end of the Great Recession as it did during the recession itself. . . . The decrease in household income from 2009 to 2011 almost exactly equaled the decrease in income in the two years of the recession. . . . By this yardstick, the recovery from the Great Recession is bypassing the nation’s households.”
And in announcing new Federal Reserve policy yesterday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “Fewer than half of the 8 million jobs lost in the recession have been restored. And at 8.1 percent, the unemployment rate is nearly unchanged since the beginning of the year and is well above normal levels. The weak job market should concern every American. . . . Five million Americans have been unemployed for more than six months, and millions more have left the labor force, many of them doubtless because they’ve given up on finding suitable work.”
Speaking on the continued failure of President Obama’s economic policies from the Senate floor yesterday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “For two years, this President got everything he wanted legislatively. Aided by giant majorities in both houses of Congress and goaded on by a chief of staff who told him to brush aside any pleas for bipartisanship, he spent two years putting into place the big-government agenda that he and his liberal allies had dreamed of — an agenda so extreme that their biggest challenge was making sure members of their own party didn’t defect.
“And the results of those efforts are clear for all to see: unemployment’s been above 8 percent for 43 months. Growth is an anemic 1.5 percent — the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. The federal debt is a stratospheric $16 trillion. A full 15 percent of Americans are now on food stamps. The census bureau said just yesterday that household incomes have declined every year of the Obama administration and one out of six Americans are living in poverty. And the labor participation rate — the percentage of those who can work that are actually working — is at its lowest point in decades. If you count people who’ve given up looking for work, unemployment’s above 11 percent, not the 8 percent we read about. These are the grim realities of the Obama economy. And make no mistake: the framework for it was laid in 2009 and 2010.”